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Full text of "Donald McLeod's Gloomy memories in the Highlands of Scotland: versus Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Sunny memories in (England) a foreign land, or, A faithful picture of the extirpation of the Celtic race from the Highlands of Scotland"

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DONALD     MLEODS        ^'^^ 


Gloomy   Memories 


^^ 


IN    THE 


J 


^-^-^^C^U^^ 


Highlands  of  Scotland: 


VEBSUS 


{Vive.  Ibariict  fficccbcr  Stowc'6 

SUNNY     IVL  EMORIES 

/y  (England)  a  Foreign  Land: 
^  OR    A    FAITHFUL    PICTURE    OF   THE 

EXTIRPATION  OF  the  CELTIC  RACE 

FROM    THE    HIGHLANDS    OF    SCOTLAND. 


f»r  J 


tfi\\Mik\\y^  /^ 


^i 


GLAHfJOW:— AliCHIIJALD    SINCLAIR,    10    BOTHWKI.L    STKKiy^^ 

KniNBUROH: — John  (iKANT,  Oeoiiok  iv.  Bridck.  X^^  <J/      ' 

TNVKRNE88  :— JoHN    NoBLK,    CaSTLE    StRKKT.      XiC   ^  C>^ 

Oban:     Hi ';n  MacDonald,  Esplanadk.   /<vrc^<^      -^  \1 

/^^'    ^         ^ 

1892.  /^4^ 


PUBLISHERS    PREFACE. 


In  publishing  a  new  edition  of  Donald  Macleod's  "Gloomy  Memories" 
it  may  he  interesting  to  sulmit  a  few  facts  regarding  previous  editions. 
The  first  edition,  j)rinted  for  the  author  at  the  Chronicle  Office,  Edin- 
burgh, in  1841,  consisted  of  a  reprint  of  a  number  of  letters  addressed 
to  the  Edijibnifjh  Weekly  Chronicle.  A  second  edition  was  published  in 
Greenock  in  185G,  while  a  third  edition,  enlarged  and  improved,  was 
published  in  Toronto,  Canada,  in  1857. 

Despite  tlie  fact  tiiat  three  editions  were  published,  the  work  was  within 
recent  years  all  but  impossible  to  procure.  The  idea  of  publishing  the 
present  edition,  which  is  a  reprint  of  that  published  in  Canada,  is  due 
to  ]Mr.  John  Campbell,  a  patriotic  Mull  man  resident  in  Greenock,  wlio, 
impressed  with  the  educative  value  of  the  **  Gloomy  Memories,"  set  about 
collecting  subscriptions  with  the  view  of  having  an  edition  published  at 
a  pffce  that  would  place  the  work  within  the  reach  of  all.  To  his  efforts 
therefore,  conjoined  with  the  patriotism  of  a  number  of  Celts  and  others 
interested  in  the  Highlands,  the  public  are  indebted  for  the  pixisent 
re-issue  of  the  "Gloomy  Memories." 


PREFACE  TO  THE  PRESENT  EDITION, 


\\--=.- 


Masy  things  have  happened  in  the  County  of  Sutherland,  as  well  as 
in  the  Highlands  generally,  since  184041,  when  Donald  MacLeod  wrote 
to  the  Edinburgh  Weekly  Chronicle  about  "  the  Sutherland  Clearances," 
and  even  since  the  later  portions  of  this  work  were  called  forth  by  Mrs. 
I^eecher  Stowe's  attempt  in  her  ''  Sunny  Memories  "  to  whitewash  the 
house  of  Sutherland  after  its  defilement  from  contact  with  the  fire  and 
crow-bar  brigade  of  that  county.  To  many  interested  in  the  Highlands 
of  Scotland,  the  title  of  this  book  has  been  long  familiar,  and  the  name 
of  Donald  MacLeod  has  long  been  esteemed  and  honoured.  Few,  how- 
ever, of  the  present  generation  have  read  the  "  Gloomy  Memories"  as 
the  earlier  editions  are  long  out  of  print,  and  but  comparatively  few  of 
the  Canadian  edition,  published  in  1857,  reached  this  country.  In  these 
circumstances  it  may  be  interesting  to  give  a  few  facts  regarding  the 
author  of  this  patriotic  work,  and  the  causes  which  led  him  to  publish 
his  "  Gloomy  Memories." 

Donald  MacLeod  was  hotw  at  Ilossal,  Strathnaver,  where  his  father, 
William  MacLeod,  was  at  the  time  a  farmer.  When  Donald  was  about 
twenty  years  of  age,  his  father  was  obliged  to  leave  his  little  farm  in 
order  that  it  might  form  pai-tofagiganticsheepi-un, and  wasobliged  to  accept 
a  croft  among  othei-s  at  the  foot  of  the  Strath,  in  A  ird-dn-ia^gaich.  After- 
wards, the  family  were  removed  to  Strathy  Point,  whence  Donald  had 
to  make  anotlier  move  at  the  instance  of  Patrick  Sellar's  successor.  He 
removed  southward,  keeping  as  long  as  he  could  within  the  bounds  of 
the  county.     The  la.st  employment  he  had  in  his  native  shire  was  as  a 


n)ason  building  the  breast  on  the  north  side  of  the  Kyle,  and  to  the  east 
of  the  bridge  of  Bonar. 

From  this  he  went  to  Edinburgh,  where  he  found  access  to  tlie  press, 
but  such  an  ''agitator"  was  not  likely  to  receive  much  encouragement  in 
that  city  of  "  law  and  order,"  and  accordingly  Donald  MacLeod  went  to 
Canada,  where  he  ended  his  days.  In  Woodstock,  Ontario,  he  prepared 
for  the  press,  the  edition  which  was  published  for  him  in  1857,  by 
Thomson  i  Coy.,  Colonist  Office,  Toronto. 

No  one  who  reads  the  "Gloomy  Memories"  and  considers  the  author's 
environments  and  opportunities,  can  fail  to  observe  the  marked  ability 
with  which  he  states  his  facts,  and  the  firmness  displayed  at  a  time  when 
his  sentiments  could  find  but  little  support  and  scanty  approval.  Despite 
the  attempts  of  Mrs  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe,  and  Commissioner  James  Loch, 
M.P.,  to  whitewash  the  Sutherland  escutcheon,  and  the  various  efforts  of 
the  Sellar  family  to  vindicate  the  memory  of  their  father,  yet  the  state- 
ments made  by  Donald  MacLeod  have  never  been  overturned  or  refuted 
— indeed  they  have  in  these  latter  days  been  fully  substantiated.  The  Royal 
Commission  appointed  in  1883  to  enquire  into  the  condition  of  the 
Highland  Crofters  had  ample  evidence  submitted  to  it  in  the  county 
regarding  the  Sutherlandshire  clearances,  their  extent  and  attendant 
cruelties.  At  its  sittings  in  Edinburgh,  the  Commission  heard  the 
evidence  of  two  witnesses  of  these  cruel  evictions,  as  well  as  received 
fifteen  duly  attested  affidavits  of  old  men  then  living  who  had  been  eye- 
witnesses of  the  clearances,  and  of  the  acconipanying  atrocities. 

The  conduct  of  the  clergy  during  the  period  of  these  evictions  must 
call  forth  the  censure  of  all  right  thinking  persons.  Instead  of  pleading 
the  cause  of  the  poor  and  defending  the  widow  and  orphan,  they,  with 
one  or  two  exceptions,  aided  and  abetted  the  evictors  and  sought  to 
justify  their  conduct.  Nor  is  the  attitude  of  the  clergy  towards  the 
Crofter  Agitation  in  our  own  day  much  better.  As  a  rule — with  just 
sufficient  exceptions  to  prove  the  rule — they  have  either  sided  with  the 
oppressors  of  the  people  and  condemned  the  agitators,  or  displayed  a 
callous  indifference  when  the  most  vital  interests  of  their  people  were  at 
stake.  Even  many  of  the  successors  of  those  who  protested  so 
vehemently  against  "site  refusers"  in  1843,  are  frequently  found 
attempting  to  justify  the  oppression  and  extortion  of  modern  landlordism. 
It  is  therefore  a  matter  of  profound  thankfulness  that  the  people  have 
asserted  their  rights  and  demanded  a  restitution  of  privileges  long 
denied  them.     Till  within  recent  years  the  Highland  people  were  denied 


Ill 

a  voice  in  the  making  of  those  laws  under  which  they  lived.  An  ex- 
tended franchise  has  recently  endowed  them  with  a  new  existence  and 
their  sufferances  are  now  sought  for  with  a  persistency  indicative  of 
their  importance  in  the  domain  of  politics.  * 

The  Crofters'  Act  of  1886,  despite  its  imperfections  and  aggrivating 
limitations,  is  based  on  the  historic  rights  of  the  Celts,  and  is  therefore 
but  an  earnest  of  what  must  yet  be  conceded,  if  the  Highlanders 
are  united  in  their  desires  and  persistent  in  their  demands.  How  it 
would  have  cheered  the  heart  of  Donald  MacLeod  had  he  lived  to  see 
the  passing  of  the  Crofters'  Act,  and  he  would  have  been  gratified  beyond 
measure  to  find  that  the  electors  of  his  native  county  had,  at  the  last  general 
election,  declined  the  blandishments  of  those  in  authority  and  sent  a 
crofter's  son,  Mr  Angus  Sutherland  to  Parliament  to  represent  them — and 
so  furnished  all  other  constituencies  with  an  example  well  worthy  of 
imitation. 

Glasgow,  1892.  FIONN. 

*  In  1S84  the  Sutherland  constituency  was  325,  in  1885  the  extended  franchise 
raised  it  to  3180. 


INTRODUCTION 

TO  CANADIAN    EDITION. 


To  Donald  Matheson,  Esq.,  M.P.P.,  for  North  Oxford,  Canada  West, 
and  William  Maxson,  Esq.,  Captain  of  the  Highland  Guards,  New 
York,  Scottish  Highlanders,  and  their  descendants  in  the  Csaiadas, 
and  in  the  United  States  of  America. 

Gentlemen, — In  dedicating  the  following  narrative  to  you,  the  author 
has  not  the  vanity  to  suppose  that  you  will  be  honoured  thereby,  containing 
as  it  does  a  narration  of  painful  facts,  connected  with  the  suffering  and 
depreciation  of  a  onct  mighty  race  of  people,  who  had  largely  contributed 
to  the  renown  of  Britain  as  a  nation,  and  instrumental  in  raising  her  to 
her  present  proud  position  among  the  nations  of  the  earth.  It  is  not  the 
object  of  the  author  to  dilate  here  upon  the  antiquity  and  character  of  the 
Celtic  race,  but  expose  the  cruelty  and  injustice  to  which  they  have  been 
subjected  by  the  aristocracy  of  Great  Britain,  and  tolerated  by  the  Gov- 
ernment, seemingly  with  the  avowed  intention  to  extirpate  them  root  and 
branch  from  the  land  of  their  birth  and  home  of  their  forefathers,  and  to 
convert  the  fertile  valleys  of  Caledonia,  "  the  land  of  the  brave,"  into 
hunting  and  sheep  walks.  Doubtless  the  cruel  dealings  of  Highland  aris- 
tocracy to  the  down-trodden  sons  and  daughters  of  Caledonia,  will  find 
apologists,  and  even  at  the  j>resent  time  they  have  procured  an  American 
literary  luminary,  who  promises  well  to  whitewash  their  foul  deeds,  partic- 
ularly the  Sutherlandshire  depopulators  (o/'^Ac /o«^  pwy-s^);  and  endeav- 
ouring to  make  it  appear  that  all  tlie  author  and  others  have  written  about 
the  Sutherlandshire  clearances,  were  malicious  accusations  and  groundless 
grievances ;  but  she  zvill  not  get  Scot  free  away  with  it.  I  know, 
ex{)erimentally,  that  the  advocates  of  the  poor  man's  rights  do  labor  under 
many  disadvantiiges  ;  still  the  author  of  this  work  rejoices  that  he  has  it 
in  his  power  to  appeal  to  hundreds  of  his  countrymen  to  attest  the  veracity 
of  all  the  statements  he  advances,  and  has  confidence  in  his  own  abilities 
to  bring  home  every  charge  of  cruelty  and  oppression  practised  upon  the 
Sutherlandshire  Higlilandersby  their  ruthless  and  tyrannical  lords  of  the 
soil  and  their  underlings.  This  unvarnished  narrative,  imperfect  as  it 
may  be,  in  regard  to  its  literary  character,  is  however,  inscribed  not  from 
any  mercenary  motives,  but  as  a  humble  tribute  of  regard  for  your  well 
known  sym})athie8  for  the  wrongs  of  your  oppressed  countrymen  :  trust- 
ing, that  a  liberal  allowance  will  be  made  for  the  limited  literary  attain- 
ments of 

Yours  respectfully, 

DONALD  MCLEOD. 

Woodstock,  20th  Feb.,  1857. 


Gentlemen  and  Fellow  Countrymen  : — 

It  is  true,  as  many  of  you  said,  that  we  have  had  at  one  time  a  nativity, 
and  a  native  country,  to  which  we  and  our  forefathers  were  married  and 
loved — where  we  have  kindred  feelings  and  associations,  as  sacred  to  our 
memory  as  almost  our  very  existence.  It  is  true  that  we  are  the  genuine 
descendants  of  a  race  of  whom  we  have  much  cause  to  be  proud,  and 
boast  of — for  we  may  turn  up  the  pages  of  antiquity  and  ransack  modern 
and  ancient  history  in  vain,  to  find  out  a  race  of  people,  among  whom 
bravery  and  patriotism  existed  equal  to  the  Celtic  race,  or  among  whom 
Civilization,  Science,  Literature,  Morality,  Benevolence,  and  Humanity, 
made  such  progress  as  among  the  Celtic,  who  occupied  the  Highlands  of 
Scotland.  But  alas,  alas  !  It  is  true,  that  all  that  they  were — all  that 
they  have  done  for  ungrateful  Britain,  went  for  nothing  when  their  ene- 
mies got  the  upper  hand  of  them.  It  is  now  a  lamentable  truth,  that  the 
Highlands  of  Scotland  (Tir  mo  ghraidh.  Tir  nam  beann,  nangleann  's  nan 
gaisgeach)  which  the  Boraan  army  in  their  victorious  days  failed toconquer 
— which  the  brutal  Edwards,  and  Cromwell,  and  many  other  formidable 
invaders  failed  to  subdue — are  now  converted  to  a  howling  solitary  wilder- 
ness, from  which  joy  and  rejoicing  are  fled  for  ever.  Where  the  martial 
notes  of  the  bag-pipes,  echoed  by  mountains  and  glens,  ceased  to  be 
heard — and  where  no  sweeter  strains  to  cheer  the  stranger  who  may  hap- 
pen to  travel  there,  are  heard,  than  the  yell  of  shepherds  and  foxhunters 
the  bleating  of  sheep,  the  barking  of  collie  dogs,  and  the  screeches  of  the 
owl  and  eagle. 

It  is  true  my  friends,  that  I  have  devoted  all  my  spare  time  and  means, 
for  the  last  thirty-four  years,  expostulating,  remonstrating  with,  and  expo- 
sing the  desolators  of  my  country,  and  extirpators  of  my  race,  from  the 
land  of  their  birth,  and  advocating  the  cause  of  the  suffering  people,  dur- 
ing these  trying,  murdering,  and  desolating  times — considering  that  I 
could  not  serve  God  in  a  more  acceptable  way,  than  to  help  those  who 
could  not  help  themselves.  Thousands  of  my  countrymen  in  this  country, 
and  elsewhere,  will  bear  me  witness  in  what  I  have  suffered  at  the  hands 
of  the  scions  of  Highland  aristocracy,  for  performing  what  I  considered 
my  incumbent  duty. 

Not  knowing  my  position  in  life,  especially  my  pecuniary  circumstances, 
many  of  my  countrymen  in  the  Canadas,  say — Why  not  come  out  Donald 
M'Leod  with  your  long  promised  Highland  Cabt?i,  that  the  cruel  conduct, 
and  ungodly  oppression  of  Highland  oppressors,  may  be  immortalized  in 
the  Canadas. 

Your  importunities  are  most  agreeable  to  me,  for  I  bear  in  my  mind  an 
undying  desire  to  gratify  you,  and  I  hope  in  the  course  of  some  time,  that 
I  will  accomplish  it. 

The  only  excuse  I  can  plead  for  the  delay,  is  my  circumscribed  circum- 
stances. I  have  been  peeled  and  plucked  so  often,  that  there  was  scarcely 
a  feather  in  my  wings  when  I  left  Scotland,  and  they  are  but  slowly  pro- 
gressing as  yet — rbut  there  is  hope  of  their  restoration.  To  solicit  aid 
was  hitherto  foreign  to  my  mind,  but  now  I  am  old  and  have  learnt, 
(nach  sluagh  duine  na  6nar)  that  one  man  is  not  a  people. 


The  time  is  now  come  when  I  consider  I  have  to  perform  my  part  to 
gratify  you.  The  conflicting  opinions  and  ideas  regarding  the  rights  of 
jiroperty,  more  especially  j)ro|)erty  in  land,  and  what  constitutes  property 
in  land,  is  a  great  barrier  in  my  way  :  all  who  read  and  believe  sacred 
liistory,  I  think  will  agree  with  me,  that  the  whole  creation  of  God  was  at 
one  time  public  property.  How  is  the  most  part  of  God's  creation  now 
taken  out  of  His  hands,  and  converted  to  individual  private  property  \ 
Since  history  took  notice  of  the  movement  of  nations,  I  can  trace  only 
three  fundamental,  feasible  laws,  which  constitute  right  of  property  in 
land,  viz  : — the  laws  of  discovery,  of  conquest,  and  of  purchase.  For 
instance,  when  a  seafaring  captain  discovei-s  a  continent,  or  an  island,  he 
takes  possession  of  it  in  the  name  of  his  Sovereign  and  Government. 
On  his  return  he  is  rewarded.  Government  transports,  with  soldiers,  sur- 
veyors, pioneers,  tkc,  are  dispatched  to  ascertain  the  mineral  wealth 
and  various  resources  of  the  land,  and  all  expenses  for  discovery,  and  of 
the  expedition  are  paid  out  of  the  public  treasury,  hence  the  discovered 
land  becomes  national  property.  Emigration  will  follow,  commissioners 
are  appointed  by  government,  (and  paid  out  of  the  public  purse)  to  sell 
the  land.  The  land  is  sold,  but  under  cei-tain  stipulations,  and  these 
<;onditions  must  be  observed,  or  the  purchase  right  is  forfeited.  Though 
you  purchased  the  land  legally,  and  pay  for  it  punctually,  still  government 
has  a  perfect  right,  (at  least  should  have)  to  compel  the  obstinate  and 
vicious  to  cultivate,  or  use  the  land  for  the  greatest  good  or  benefit  of  the 
lieges ;  wise  governments  do  in  all  cases  retain  for  themselves  the  power 
that  no  right  of  property  in  land  shall  be  a  barrier  to  public  good  and 
prosi)erity  ;  railways  and  canals  can  be  driven  through  your  land,  quarries 
and  gravel  pits  can  be  opened  in  your  corn-fields,  whether  you  will  or  not, 
so  that  in  my  opinion  land  cannot  be,  nor  should  be,  private  property 
that  a  man  can  do  what  he  pleases  with  it. 

There  are  many  vicious,  inhumane,  and  unconstitutional  men  in  this 
world,  and  to  be  found  among  land  owners  in  greater  ratio  than  any  other 
classes  I  know  or  read  about.  Now  supposing  that  one  or  any  number  of 
thcin  took  it  into  their  heads  to  convert  their  estates  into  hunting  parks, 
lays,  and  preserves  of  wild  and  destructive  animals,  which  could  neither 
be  enclosed  nor  prevented  from  depradatory  inroads  upon  other  people's 
pro|>erty — purposely  to  afford  themselves,  their  rich  friends,  and  favourite 
companions  amusement,  or  to  let  their  domains  upon  rent  to  sportsmen, 
should  not  government  interfere.  But  to  find  these  men  boldly  entering 
both  Houses  of  Parliament  with  a  bill  demanding  an  Act  of  Parliament  to 
protect  them  in  their  wicked  and  unconstitutional  scheme,  and  to  punish 
by  banishment  or  long  imprisonment,  any  one  who  would  even  trespass 
upon  the  ])roserve8  or  lays  of  these  animals  to  annoy  them.  But  this  is 
not  all,  but  an  act  whereby  they  could  seize  upon  the  propt;rty  of  their 
poorer  co-proprietors  and  neighbours,  bum  down  their  habitations,  banish 
themselves  from  the  land,  and  add  their  property  to  their  own  extensive 
game  preserves.  You  surely  would  consider  this  etFrontery  without  a  par- 
allel in  the  annals  of  plunderers ;  and  T  am  sure  you  will  agree  with  me 
that  the  imbecillity,  yea,  insunity  of  the  Legislature  or  Government  who 


•vrould  enact  such  laws  and  grant  such  liberties,  are  beyond  the  compre- 
hension of  rational  beings  ;    likewise  that  the  shortsightedness,  culpable 
carelessness,  and  cowardice  of  a  nation  boasting  of  their  civilization,  intel- 
ligence, and  Christianity,  who   would  tolerate  such  unwise  and  ungodly 
proceedings    are    beyond    descrii)tion.       But    you  say    Donald   are  you 
raving,  where  did  such  enormities  take  place  1     I  tell  you  in  Scotland  ;. 
yes  in  beloved  and  never  to  be  forgotten  Scotland,  in  Caledonia  T)r  nam 
heann,    nan    gleann's  nan    Gaisgcach, — "the    land    of    the     mountains, 
the  cataracts,  and  heroes"  still  worse  than  this  took  place,  and  I  will  make 
it  as  clear  as  noonday  to  you  in  my  narrative, — yes,  after  the  union  of 
England  and  Scotland,  far  more  insane  and  unconstitutional  laws  were 
enacted,  and  to  the  everlasting  disgrace  of  the  British  Parliament  and 
nation  are  still  allowed  a  stain  upon  the  statute  book,  and  in  full  opera- 
tion, to  rob  the  poor  to  make  the  rich  richer — to  gratify  a  few  avaricious 
minions  who,  constitutionally  speaking,  forfeited  their  rights  of  properly, 
(with  very  few  exceptions)  their  rights  and  privileges  of  communion  with 
christians,  and  who  should  long  ere  now  be  arrainged  before  the  highest 
trihuial  of  the  nation,  and  dealt  with  as  conspirators  and  traitors.     Men 
who  have  neither  bravery,  ancestry,  virtue,  or  honour  to  boast  of ;  men 
who  cannot  claim  the  rights  of  discovery ^  of  conquest,  of  defending,  nor  of 
purchase  to  the  land  they  now  hold  as  their  private  property,  and  con- 
sidering their  rights  to  these  lands  sacred.  "$}!^^-^ 
Very  few  Historians,  however  unprincipled  and  partial,  ever  attempted 
to  deprive  the  Celtic  race  of  their  right  of  discovery  to  Scotland,  and  we 
have  ample  pToof  in  history  of  how  the  Celts  defended  Scotland  from 
every  invader  from  the  first  invasion  of  the  Romans  down  to  the  ignoble 
un^on  or  alliance  with  England;  so  that  Scotland  stands  alone  among  the 
nations  of  the  known  world  unconquered.     No  doubt  the  Lowlands  of 
Scotland  have  been  jnvaded  and  conquered  more  than  once  ;  but  when 
these  powerful  invaders  came  to  exchange  blows  with  the  (unmixed  in 
blood)  Celtic  Caledonians,  they  met  with  more  than  their  match,  were 
repelled,  had  to  retrace  their  steps,  and  often  not  many  of  them  left  to 
retrace  their  steps.     If  this  is  admitted,  (and  who  can  deny  it)  I  maintain 
that  the  lineal  descendents  of  the  discoverers  and  defenders  of  Scotland, 
are  the  real  proprietors  of  the  land,  and  that  every  one  of  that  lineage  from 
John  O'Groat  to  INIaiden  Kirk,  has  as  good  a  right  to  a  portion  of  the 
land  as  the  Dukes  of  Roxburgh,  Buecleuch,  Hamilton,  Athol,  Argyle, 
Gordon,  or  Sutherland,  who  (along  with  other  nine  or  ten  Earls,  Mar- 
quises and  Lords)  hold  more  than  the  two-thirds  of  Scotland,  as  their 
private  property,  exclusively  for  themselves  and  their  families'  agrandize- 
ment,  luxury  and  amusement,  and  three-fourths  of  their  domains  devoted 
to  rear  brute  animals.     How  the  legitimate  heirs  of  children  of  the  soil 
were  dispossessed  and  expelled,  and  how  aliens  and  cruel  bastards  got 
possession  of  the  Scottish  soil,  is  to  be  explained.     To  trace  the  history 
of  the  Celtic  race  down  from  the  Garden  of  Eden  to  Cape-wrath,  in 
Sutherlandshire  would  be  the  work  of  supererogation,  hence  I  must  con- 
fine myself  to  the  time  since  history  took  hold  of  their  movements  and 
system  of  Government;  and  however  complicated,  conflicting,  and  partial 


historians  are  upon  the  genealogy,  customs  and  government  of  this 
race,  it  is  evident  that  braver  men  never  existed,  and  no  other  race  on 
record  who  excelled  them  in  litei-ature,  science,  and  civilization. 

I  would  in  particular  solicit  the  attention  of  my  readers  to  what  they 
should  all  know — the  chain  of  Scottish  historians,  whose  works  are  still 
extant,  though  suppressed  and  locked  up  from  those  who  should  be  edified 
by  them — works  sufficient  to  convince  the  most  obdurate,  that  learning  and 
civilization  always  followed  our  race  from  the  earliest  ages,  not  only  in 
Scotland  but  in  other  nations  where  they  made  a  distinguished  figure. 
" I  am  tired,"  says  Julius  Leichton,  "of  hearing  the  Roman  authors 
quoted,  when  the  commencement  of  our  civilization  is  spoken  of,  while 
nothing  is  said  of  the  Celts,  or  of  our  obligation  to  them.  It  was  not  the 
Latins,  it  was  the  Gaids  who  were  our  first  instructors.  Aristotle 
declared  that  philosophy  was  derived  by  the  Greeks  from  the  Gauls,  and 
not  imparted  to  them.  The  Gauls  were  truly  of  sharp  wit  and  apt  to 
leara.  So  much  did  the  Briton  Celts  excel  in  profound  learning,  that 
the  youths  of  the  continent  came  hitherto  to  study  by  a  course  of  no  less 
than  twenty  year's  ])robation."  (See  Tacitus  s  life  of  Agricola.)  Read 
the  same  Roman  historian's  admiration  and  description  of  the  Caledonian 
Celts  under  the  command  of  Corbred  the  Second,  surnamed  Galgacus  and 
twenty -second  King  of  Scotland,  when  they  confronted  the  Romam  army 
under  the  command  of  Agricola,  at  the  foot  of  the  Grampian  hills,  where 
a  most  sanguinary  battle  was  fought ;  and  though  the  Romans  by  strata- 
tiem  g.ained  a  partial  victory,  and  when  Agricola  proposed  to  pursue  them, 
•'  No,"  said  Tacitus  (his  son-in-law)  "  be  content  that  you  have  so  many 
of  the  Roman  soldiers  to  lead  oflfthe  field  that  if  you  pursue  the  defeated 
Caledonians  one  league  further,  you  shall  not  have  one  Roman  soldier  to 
guard  your  person  going  home.  These  are  the  most  formidable,  and 
bravest  enemy  that  ever  Rome  had  to  confront,  every  one  of  them  will  die 
l)efore  they  yield,  they  are  true  patriots,  Agricola,  make  all  haste  to  your 
strongholds  or  you  are  done."  So  the  Romans  had  to  retrace  their  steps, 
and  the  Calenonians  jmrsued  them  until  the  Romans  were  ultimately 
driven  into  the  sea.  Columba  burned  many  of  these  Celtic  records,  yet 
many  survived  his  ravages.  St.  Patrick  burned  one  hundred  and  eighty- 
nine  of  those  works  at  Tara,  Ireland,  all  written  in  the  Gaelic  language, 
with  a  little  mixture  of  Latin.  Edward  the  First,  of  England,  destroyed 
many  of  them,  and  after  the  ignoble  union  with  England,  what  portion  of 
them  were  preserved  extant  from  these  ravages,  are  now  suppressed  so  as 
to  deprive  Scotland  of  their  Celtic  record  and  of  the  history  of  their  grand- 
fathers. J  find  thirty  seven  of  these  records  supprt^ssed,  and  locked  up  in 
libraries  where  only  a  few  favorites  are  admitted,  and  those  say  very  little 
about  them,  except  wlmt  they  say  to  mutilate  and  violate  them.  To 
enumerate  all  the  works  in  the  Gaelic,  Latin,  and  English  language,  now 
.suppressed,  would  require  more  room  or  space  than  I  can  spare  in 
this  anuill  narrative.  Among  the.se  works,  we  find  the  ancient  annals  of 
Scotland  ;  the  Pictish  Chronicle  of  high  antitjuity  ;  'the  register  of  St. 
Andrew,  beginning  with  827,  when  that  university  was  founded  by  the 
jirimitive  Celtic  christians  of  Scotland  j  the  works  of  Nenius  in  the 


VI 

seventh  century ;  the  annals  of  Dunbarton,  beginning  with  the  Colum- 
bian period  ;  the  Chronicle  of  Melrose,  partly  written  in  Gaelic,  and 
partly  in  Latin  ;  the  Obituary  and  Chartularly  of  Glasgow ;  the  History 
of  Scotland  by  Vermandus,  Arch-Deacon  of  St.  Andrew,  in  1079, 
Hector  Boethius,  first  principal  of  Aberdeen  College,  his  history  cut  deep 
and  is  on  that  account  abhorred  by  the  English,  (on  the  savage  charge 
given  by  Edward  the  First  to  his  no  less  savage  son,  to  boil  him  after  he 
was  dead,  and  to  carry  his  bones  with  him  to  frighten  the  Scots) — Boethius 
remarks  that  after  he  was  boiled,  "  few  would  sup  the  broth."  The  black 
book  of  Paisley,  the  last  part  of  which  is  a  continuation  of  Scots'  Chroni- 
con.  Also  Lord  Elibank's  Treatise  on  the  Scottish  League  with  France 
in  the  reign  of  Charlemange ;  and  the  vast  collection  of  Scottish  Annals 
collected  by  Sir  James  Balfour,  still  preserved,  particularly  his  registers 
of  Scone  and  Cambuskeneth,  now  locked  up  in  the  Advocates'  Library, 
Edinburgh,  besides  his  history  of  Fergus  the  First  to  Charles  the  First; 
together  with  the  Monastic  Chronicles,  under  the  appropriate  title  of 
Scottish  Annals. 

But  all  these  and  as  many  more  are  suppressed,  and  locked  up,  but  still 
extant;  besides  this  we  have  about  one  hundred  manuscript  volumes  in  the 
Gaelic  language,  collected  and  in  the  possession  of  the  Highland  Society, 
Edinburgh,  some  of  which  were  transcribed  in  the  fifth  century,  and  is 
allowed  by  competent  judges,  to  be  the  oldest  document  written  in  any 
living  language;  the  document  itself  is  sufficient  to  prche  its  author.  He 
was  named  Fithil,  rector  of  the  High  School  of  lona.  The  volume  con- 
sists of  two  poems,  inculcating  the  only  true  guide  to  well-doing  here,  and 
eternal  happiness  hereafter,  viz.  :  that  spotless  morality  which  is  alone 
founded  on  the  word  of  God  ;  there  is  also  a  critical  dissertation  on  a 
singular  poem,  Tain  Bo^  or  the  cattle  spoil,  an  event  which  happened  only 
five  years  after  the  Ascension.  All  of  these  Gaelic  volumes  consists  of 
treatises  on  Botany,  Anatomy,  Astronomy,  Astrology,  Theology,  Economy, 
Science,  Literature,  and  Politics;  all  in  the  Gaelic  language, but  all  (as I 
said  before)  suppressed  or  lying  useless,  locked  up  in  universities'  and 
societies'  libraries.  It  is  a  very  natural  enquiry  ; — Why  are  these  works 
suppressed  or  locked  up]  or  by  whom,  and  what  is  the  cause  for  it? — 
They  are  suppressed  by  the  British  Government,  and  the  cause  is  obvious 
but  ignoble  in  the  extreme. 

Previous  to  the  miscalled  union  of  Scotland  and  England  it  is  evident 
that  England  could  never  conquer  Scotland  until  the  Cakidonians  were 
subdued ;  they  often  made  bloody  attempts,  but  were  as  often  defeated ;  bu  t 
England  had  recourse  to  intrigues,  her  favourite  weapons,  and  after  secur- 
ing her  alliance  with  Scotland,  she  found  it  a  very  easy  task  to  conquer. 
What  her  arms,  and  her  bloody  and  murdeious  kings  and  generals  could 
never  achieve,  her  treacherous  intrigues  and  money  did  for  her.  She  got 
Scot  to  fight  against  Scot,  Caledonian  against  Caledonian.  She  then 
laughed  in  her  sleeve,  and  exulted  like  the  lion  in  the  fable  when  he 
saw  the  two  bulls  in  the  same  park  with  him  quarrelling  and  fighting  ; 
knowing  they  would  soon  become  his  pray,  for  she  {stretched  vpon  a 
couch  of  doivn)  had  her  soul  satisfaction  to  see  the  two  d stupid 


Scottish  bulls  lighting  between  death  and  life  until  they  ultimately  con- 
quered and  subdued  one  another  in  1746,  upon  the  murderous  and  unfor- 
tunate field  of  Culloden,  when  the  English  insatiable  Lion  seized  upon 
them  both,  and  Scotland,  who,  before  this,  was  the  piide  and  protectoress 
and  faithful  ally  of  all  the  reformed  christian  nations  of  the  world,  and 
the  terror  of  England;  and  all  other  cruel  ambitious  nations,  her  name 
became  now  Ic/iabod,  her  glory  departed,  she  forfeited  her  proud  position 
among  nations,  aud  ceased  forever  to  be  numbered  among  them  or  recog- 
nized as  a  nation.  England  seized  her  Government,  her  laws,  and  in 
short  her  all.  The  duped,  affected,  and  the  disaffected,  shared  alike. 
No  doubt  the  Duke  of  Cumberland,  the  most  obnoxious,  cowardly  monster, 
that  ever  disgraced  humanity,  commissioned  his  followers  to  acts  of  mur- 
der, plunder,  and  violence.  Thank  God,  unprecedented  in  the  histories  of 
nations  (excepting  England)  plunder  which  some  of  them  do  enjoy  to  this 
day,  Argyle  among  the  noblest  of  them.  In  that  unfortunate  year  the 
Black  Act  was  enacted,  which  deprived  the  Caledonians  of  their  national 
^arb,  of  their  arms,  and  forbade  them  to  wear  either  under  the 
[•ains  and  penalties  of  heavy  fines,  long  imprisonment,  and  banishment. 
Tliis  nefarious  act  was  in  force,  and  strictly  watched  for  thirty-two 
years,  which  is  equal  to  a  generation.  Our  poets,  the  reprovers  of  evil 
rowardly  deeds,  and  the  recorders  of  the  deeds  of  valiant  men,  were 
silenced,  and  many  of  them  made  a  narrow  escape  from  the  gallows,  for 
their  pensive  memoirs  of  the  fallen  at  Culloden,  on  the  day  when  Scot- 
land was  prostrated,  at  the  foot  of  her  avowed  enemy,  a  day  pregnant  with 
degradation,  slavery,  and  the  desolation  and  misery  I  have  to  record  ;  all 
the  Gaelic  manuscript  and  history  that  could  be  discovered,  by  hook  or 
by  crook,  was  seized,  d€\stroyed,  or  locked  up,  among  which  was  the 
national  records,  from  Fergus  the  First,  to  William  the  First,  and  none 
who  understood  the  language  were  admitted  to  see  them  ;  and  after  the 
elapse  of  thirty-two  years  of  this  Reign  of  Terror  very  few  were  found 
to  peruse  or  understand  the  language. 

There  were  various  motives  for  these  outrageous  proceedings,  against  the 
Caledonians  in  particular,  and  they  answered  their  various  designs  to  the 
Jiristocrats  heart's  desire.  England  knew  that  the  most  effectual  way  to 
.sul)due  the  Celts,  was  to  crush  their  loyalty  to  their  legitimate  sovereign, 
to  crush  their  kindred  feeling,  habits  and  customs,  and  extirpate  the 
patriarchial  system  of  government  from  among  them  ;  but  there  was 
another  primary  cause,  viz.  :  the  Celtic  history  of  Scotland  recorded  the 
feudal  brutality  of  English  invaders  in  Scotland,  which  is  indeed  too 
horrifying  to  sj^eak  of,  hence  would  need  to  be  suppressed,  tliat  England's 
barbarity  miglit  he  obliterated,  and  that  Scotland  and  Ireland  might  be 
saddled  with  all  her  sina.  Moreover  that  Scotland  might  be  left  defence- 
less from  the  attacks  of  England's  hired  historians,  to  defame  her  in  her 
government  and  her  chivalry,  in  her  patriotism,  her  customs,  Iier  science, 
and  literature,  and  to  make  everything  that  was  great  and  good,  English. 
It  is  a  notorious  fact  that  so  far  as  the  ingenuity  of  tliese  hired  emniisaries 
could  go,  they  were  faithful  to  their  employers  ;  and  that  these  noted 
calumniators  of  Scotland  were  chosen  from  among  her  own  treacherou.s 


VIU 

sons,  beginning  with  Robertson,  under  the  dictation  and  command  of 
Horace  Walpole,  the  notorious  Dupe  of  Chatertou,  down  to  infamous 
Babington  Macaulay.  Limits  will  not  permit  me  to  detail  the  injustice 
done  to  Cedonians  by  these  AeVerZ  literary  scourges,  yet  with  all  that  they 
have  done,  there  is  still  extant  of  the  history  of  our  noble  race,  enough  to 
make  these  mutilators  blush,  and  more  than  enough  to  make  their  spurious 
sarcasm  and  unfounded  calumny  stink  in  Scottish  and  in  the  world's 
nostrils.  Five  hundred  years  before  the  Christian  Era,  the  Celts  took 
possession  of  Scotland,  and  down  from  that  period  they  governed  them- 
selves under  the  Patriarchial  system,  until  the  last  remnant  of  it  was 
destroyed  upon  the  unfortunate  muir  ef  CuUoden ;  they  had  their  kings 
and  chieftains,  who  were  entrusted  with  their  government,  not  by  hereditary 
rights, but  as  they  were  found  competent  to  discharge  their  duties.  They 
obeyed  and  ardently  loved  and  respected  their  kings  and  chieftains  while 
they  behaved  themselves,  but  no  further  ;  never  allowed  them  to  interfere 
with  the  rights  of  the  land  any  further  than  to  parcel  it  out  to  their 
followers  impartially,  and  the  people  parcelled  out  to  them  what  they  con- 
sidered sufficient  to  keep  them  comfortable  and  respectable.  The  chief- 
tains or  captains  were  amenable  to  the  king  in  all  their  proceedings ; 
when  a  dispute  arose  between  the  people  and  their  chief,  that  could  not 
be  settled  otherwise,  it  was  submitted  to  the  king  as  their  umpire  ;  his 
decision  was  final. 

When  the  king  required  men  to  defend  the  nation,  each  chief  had  to 
appear  with  so  many  trained  men,  in  proportion  to  the  number  entrusted 
to  them  ;  and  in  proportion  as  they  distinguished  themselves  on  the  battle 
iield,  they  were  honoured  and  rewarded  by  the  king.  According  to  our 
Celtic  Annals,  the  founder  of  the  noble  family  of  Sutherland  (after  which 
now  an  Englishman  takes  his  name,  and  who  will  make  a  conspicuous 
figure  in  my  narrative)  flourished  in  the  year  seventy-six,  and  fought 
under  Galgacus,  the  hero  of  the  Grampians,  (see  NichoU's  Scottish 
Peerage)  and  we  find  another  of  that  noble  family  of  Thanes,  Barons,  and 
Earls,  who  kept  their  history  unsullied  from  any  acts  of  cruelty  or  injus- 
tice for  more  than  nineteen  hundred  years,  and  their  memory  dear  to  those 
under  them  for  ages.  I  say  we  find  him  joining  Bobert  Bruce  upon  the 
memorable  field  of  Bannockburn,  leading  a  powerful  and  resolute  body  of 
his  retainers  to  the  field  of  slaughter;  upon  this  great  occasion  they  distin- 
guished themselves  so  well  that  the  king  complimented  their  noble  leader 
upon  the  field  of  battle,  and  shortly  afterwards  presented  him  with  a  charter 
of  lands  in  Morayshire,  Caithness  and  Sutherland  Shires;  but  upon  the 
express  conditions  that  he  would  attend  to  the  military  discipline  of  those 
brave  man,  and  that  he  and  his  offspring,  and  they  and  their  oft'spring, 
would  possess  those  lands  while  he  and  them  continued  loyal  subjects,  and 
attached  to  the  crown  of  Scotland ;  many  similar  distinctions  were  made 
and  charters  granted  by  Robert  Bruce  after  the  battle  of  Bannockburn, 
but  all  on  the  same  conditions.  Many  of  the  Scotch  Kings  and  Queens 
who  succeeded  Bruce  were  still  more  strict  upon  the  chief  or  captains  ; 
they  were  restricted  to  only  a  few  acres  of  pleasure  ground,  and  no  piece 
of  land  susceptible  of  cultivation  was  to  remain  uncultivated,  or  unoccu- 


])ied,  and  the  mountains  and  forests  were  free  to  all.  Kings,  queens,  and 
captains,  knew  that  men,  faithful  adherents,  who  had  an  interest  in  the  soil, 
were  tlieir  safeguard  and  protectors  in  the  hour  of  need  and  of  danger, 
and  they  valued  their  services.  This  is  the  fundamental  Patriarchial  laws 
of  property  in  land  in  Scotland.  How  were  these  laws  reversed,  and  that 
now,  H  very  few  men  claim  every  inch  of  land  in  Scotland,  as  their  private 
)»roperty,  and  tlieir  rights  to  these  sacred?  Have  they  purchased  their 
lands  from  the  rightful  owners?  No.  Have  they  got  it  from  Heaven  1 
Xo  ;  but  by  taking  the  advantage  of  the  revolts,  and  revolutions  which 
followed  the  dethroning  of  the  legitimate  Sovereigns,  and  the  treacherous 
union  with  England,  they  managed  to  plunder  the  people  of  it.  After  the 
union  a  new  sacred  perishable  parchuient  right  of  property  was  conse- 
crated, and  not  a  vestige  of  right  or  of  protection  was  left  for  the  people 
only  that  the  land  was  bound  to  maintain  the  disabled  poor  in  so  much  of 
I  he  necessaries  of  life  as  was  considered  sufficient  to  sustain  life,  and  so  far 
was  this  same  vestige  neglected,  that  it  was  for  one  hundred  and  twenty 
years  lying  under  dust, unmolested,  in  the  Advocates'  Library,  Edinburgh, 
iiul  the  poor  throughout  Scotland  perishing  and  dying  in  want,  and  might 
-leep  there  yet,  was  it  not  for  that  Godfearinfj  man,  Mr  Charles  Spence, 
Solicitor,  Supreme  Court,  at  the  entreaties  of  many,  made  a  search,  and 
found  it  and  took  an  active  part  in  putting  it  in. force.  I  myself  went  to 
Sutherlandshire  and  supplied  Mr.  Spence  with  seventy-two  cases  of  the 
1  )ucal  Estate,  besides  what  I  supplied  from  the  neighbouring  Counties  and 
I'^states ;  we  took  action  in  some  of  them  and  were  successful,  the  Court 
'f  Session  was  crowded  with  poor  cases,  there  the  hue  and  ci'f/  got  up, 
Highland  landlords  will  be  ruined  and  lowland  landlords  will  not  escape. 
Sir  l)uncan  MacNeil  was  then  Lord  Advocate  for  Scotland.  He  was  soli- 
cited to  prej>are  a  poor  law  bill  to  parliament  to  save  Highland  landlords 
from  ruin  and  bankruptcy.  Sir  Duncan  went  to  work,  prepared  an  admi- 
jfible  bill,  or  rather  a  compilation  of  complications,  of  crook  and  straights, 
hollows  and  holds,  short  and  long,  mockery  and  realities,  sense  and  non- 
sense, heaj)ed  up  in  a  voluminous  volume,  he  hurried  the  bill  through 
both  Houses  of  Parliament,  and  behold  the  result ;  tlie  poor  were  deprived 
of  the  only  vestige  of  right  they  had,  and  poverty  made  a  crime,  no  man 
however  charitably  disposed  can  interfere  in  their  behalf  now;  but  Sir 
Duncnn  like  a  wise  philosopher  secured  a  luxurious  situation  for  his  bro- 
ther Sir  John,  who  sits  at  the  head  of  the  Board  of  Supervision  in 
lOdinburgh,  gauging  the  stomachs  of  the  Scottish  poor  to  know  to  a  nicety 
how  much  food  they  require  to  sustain  life.  The  operation  of  this  bill  is 
a  disgrace  to  Christianity,  as  you  will  see  when  I  come  to  shew  it  up  in  its 
proper  place.  But  sinful  and  unjust  as  this  bungling  bill  is,  yet  High- 
land landlords  found  a  loop-hole  to  get  rid  of  it  untouched.  They  had 
a  long  established  law  by  which  they  could  expel  the  poor  of  the  soil,  to 
foreign  lands  or  to  large  towns  where  they  had  to  be  siistained  by  people 
wlio  had  no  right  to  do  it,  and  who  had  no  hand  in  im|>overishing  them  and 
besides  they  have  an  arbitrary  power,  (which  none  durst  contend)  to  tax 
the  rest  of  their  retjiiners,  who  in  most  cases  are  not  much  better  off  than 
the  paupers,  they  are  taxed  for  their  maintainance ;  but  they  dare  not 


whisper  a  complaint  or  off  they  go ;  in  this  way  the  Highland  minions 
got  oi  Scot  free.  But  their  unhallowed  schemes  are  constituted  in  their 
edicts  forbiddinor  marria^jes  on  their  estates.  I  have  before  me  a  letter 
from  a  friend  stating  that  there  are  in  the  parish  of  Clyne,  Sutherlandshire, 
a  parish  of  small  size,  seventy-five  bachelors,  the  oldest  of  them  seventy- 
five  years ;  and  the  youngest  of  them  thirty-five  years  of  age,  only  two 
marriages,  and  three  baptisms  registered ;  in  another  parish  one  baptism  no 
marriage,  and  so  on.  It  is  not  very  likely  that  they  would  tell  Mrs. 
B.  Stowe,  or  that  she  enquired  about  this  edict,  in  order  to  give  it  a  place 
in  her  sunny  memories,  but  she  must  have  it.  More  of  this  afterwards. 
In  1846,  the  result  of  expelling  the  people  from  their  fertile  valleys  and 
straths,  and  huddling  them  (those  who  could  not  make  their  escape  to 
foreign  lands  or  elsewhere)  together  in  motley  groups  upon  patches  of 
barren  moors,  precipices,  and  by  corners  upon  the  sea  shore,  exposed  to  all 
the  casualities  of  the  seasons ;  places  with  few  exceptions  never  designed 
by  God  for  cultivation,  nor  for  the  abode  of  man,  without  the  least  en- 
couragement for  improvement,  all  tenants  at  will  ready  to  be  turned  away 
for  the  least  offence,  or  when  a  grazier  or  huntsman  envied  their  places. 

This  is  a  cursed  scheme  which  was  adopted  by  every  Highland  lahdlord, 
from  Cape-wrath  to  the  Mull  of  Kintyre,  with  one  or  two  honourable  excep- 
tions, (it  would  be  more  applicable  if  I  called  these  Highland  scourges). 
I  say  in  the  year  1846-'47,  when  the  miserable  unnourishing  potatoe 
crop  which  was  reared  upon  these  patches  failed,  then  the  cry  of  famine 
in  the  Highlands  got  up  like  the  voice  of  thunder,  sounded  and  resounded, 
to  the  outmost  skirts  of  Europe,  India,  and  America;  public  meetings 
were  called  to  see  what  could  be  devised  and  done  to  save  the  people. 
The  first  meeting  was  held  in  the  Music  Hall,  Edinburgh,  the  Lord 
Provost  Black,  presided  ;  the  E,ev.  Norman  M'Leod,  junior,  moved  the 
first  resolution,  which  ran  nearly  thus  :  —  "  As  it  pleased  God  in  his 
mysterious  providence  to  visit  the  Highlands  and  Islands  of  Scotland  with 
Famine  on  account  of  their  sin,  that  it  behoved  Christains  of  all  denomi- 
nations who  were  blessed  with  the  means  to  come  forward  liberally  that 
the  Highlanders  might  be  saved."  The  resolution  was  seconded  and 
supported  when  his  Lordship  rose  to  put  it  to  the  meeting,  I  got  up  and 
announced  that  I  had  a  few  words  to  say  before  it  was  put  to  the  meeting, 
being  in  my  moleskin  working  dress  every  eye  was  fixed  upon  me,  the 
same  as  if  I  was  a  wolf  that  had  sprang  up ;  however  I  got  a  hearing  and  said 
that  I  was  a  Highlander,  and  knew,  the  cause  of  distress  and  famine  in  the 
Highlands,  and  that  I  had  devoted  all  my  spare  time  for  many  years  back 
proclaiming  it  publicly  in  their  ears,  and  the  ears  of  the  nation,  predict- 
ing that  ultimately  it  would  arrive  at  this  fearful  crisis,  and  now  I  cannot 
sit  quiet  in  this  great  assembly  of  learned  men,  and  hear  the  sins  and 
heavy  guilt  of  Highland  proprietors  saddled  upon  my  God,  and  that  by 
his  well  paid  servant.  Will  the  Rev.  mover  of  this  resolution  tell  me 
what  cause  he  supposes  the  Lord  has  against  the  poor  Highlanders  for  so 
long  a  time  (for  they  were  not  in  a  much  better  state  for  the  last  twenty- 
six  years  than  they  are  now),  that  he  should  send  a  famine  among  them 
to  destroy  them  ;  or  do  the  leaders  of  this  movement  consider  themselves 


more  humane  and  merciful  than  God,  or  that  puny  man  or  men  can  con- 
tend with  him  in  doing  what  He  in  His  mysterious  providence,  purposed 
to  do  ;  methinks,  that  if  God  was  to  visit  sinners  with  famine  or  any  other 
calamity  for  their  sins,  that  He  would  begin  in  London  and  with  Highland 
j)roprietors,  and  not  with  the  poor  people  who  were  more  sinned  against 
than  sinners.  Highland  landlords  are  the  legitimate  parents,  and  the  guilty 
authors  of  this  and  of  former  distress  and  famine  in  the  Highlands  of  Scot- 
land, and  should  l)e  made  responsible  for  it  and  for  future  calamities  which 
they  are  storing  up  for  the  unfortunate  victims  of  their  boundless  avarice. 
I  did  not  come  to  this  meeting,  my  Lord  Provost,  with  a -view  to  obstruct 
the  proceedings,  for  I  rejoice  to  see  such  steps  taken  to  save  the  the  people, 
not  from  the  famine  God  sent  among  them  to  destroy  them,  but  from  the 
famine  entailed  upon  them  by  their  wicked  unworthy  landlords.  But  if 
God  is  not  exonerated  from  the  charge  brought  against  Him,  publicly  here 
this  day,  and  entirely  separated  from  an  ungodly  association  of  Highland 
aristocrats,  who  were  bent  for  years  upon  the  destruction  of  Highlanders, 
and  uix)n  the  extermination  of  the  race  from  the  soil,  I  will  be  under  the 
necessity  of  proposing  a  counter  resolution."  His  Lordship  pledged  him- 
self that  the  committee  would  take  it  into  consideration.  I  did  not  press  my 
motion  and  the  meeting  proceeded.  The  appeal  went  forth,  and  was 
responded  to  in  a  manner  creditable  to  the  nation,  the  colonies  and  the 
United  States  of  America.  In  less  time  than  could  be  expected,  the 
unj)recedented  sum  of  £300,000  was  subscribed,  and  the  legitimate  parents 
of  this  distress  were  not  behind  with  their  subscriptions.  Lord  Macdonald 
subscribed,  among  the  first,  one  thousand  pounds  sterling,  Duke  of  Suther- 
land, two  thousand  pounds,  other  Dukes,  Lords,  Earls,  and  notorious  Colonel 
Gordon,  followed  the  example  so  far.  The  sole  n\anagement  of  this 
enormous  sum  of  money  was  placed  in  the  hands  of  Government  for  dis- 
tribution ;  Ijord  Trevelyan,  the  Hero  of  tiie  Test  Starving  Commission  in 
Ireland,  was  appointed  as  commissioner  for  the  distribution  of  this  munifi- 
cent gift  of  nations  for  the  relief  of  Highlanders.  He  got  a  brig  of 
war  rigged  out  for  his  service,  commanded  by  one  Captain  Elliot,  an 
Englishnjan,  an  accomplished  tool  in  the  hands  of  tyrants  and  calumnia- 
tors. The  llighlandeis  were  represented  as  dirty,  lazy,  untanieable 
being.s,  who  would  do  nothing  to  help  themselves  while  they  would  be 
kept  alive  upon  charity.  Hence  was  decreed  that  every  male  and  female 
considered  by  the  local  Boards  of  Relief  able  to  work,  were  not  to  l)e 
relieved  without  working  for  it ;  and  to  test  their  real  need  of  relief,  and 
their  willingness  to  work,  they  were  allowed  one  jwuud  of  viea/  as  meat 
and  wages  for  ten  hours  labour^  with  the  addition  of  one-lialf  a  pound  of 
meal  t^)  each  of  their  families,  or  children  who  could  not  work,  and  often 
the  meal  wa.s  so  much  adulterated  that  it  was  dangerous  for  even  swine  to 
eat  it.  Ye.s,  reader,  pregnant  women  wliose  husbands  were  not  at  home, 
and  aged  widows,  were  seen  at  tliis  work,  and  treated  in  like  manner. 

I  was  then  suggested  by  some  known  knave,  that  Highland  proprietors 
would  get  80  much  of  the  money  for  improvirg  tlieir  estates,  as  they 
knew  be.st  who  wa.s  worthy  of  relief,  and  willing  to  work  ;  and  these  sums 
to  be  in  proportion  to  thdr  subscriptions;  then  you   may  easily  guess 


xu 

who  got  the  lion's  share  of  it.  From  their  own  reports  we  find,  that  Lord 
Maedonalcl  got  £3,000  in  return  for  Iiis  .£1,000  subscrii>tion,  what  he  has 
done  with  it  is  not  known,  and  never  will,  (and  I  durst  not  say  that  he 
pouched  it).  His  Grace  of  Sutherland  got  £6,000  in  return  for  his  £2,000 
subscription,  (good  return)  but  his  Grace  built  a  splendid  hunting  booth, 
in  a  secluded  Glen,  in  the  north-west  portion  of  his  domains,  and  he  made 
a  read  to  this  booth  from  Lairg,  through  a  solitary  wilderness,  a  distance 
of  at  least  thirty  miles,  entirely  for  the  accommodation  of  his  gamekeepers, 
huntsmen,  and  sportsmen  ;  any  other  travellers  were  seen  only  as  rai-e  as  a 
pelican  in  the  deserts  of  Arabia.  But  very  few  of  the  Sutherlanders 
reaped  any  benefit  from  these  works,  as  on  former  occassions  strangers 
were  preferred.  We  could  not  expect  to  see  this  in  Mrs.  H.  B.  Stowe's 
Sunny  Memories.  Neither  need  we  expect  to  see  in  her  future  Memories 
of  the  House  of  Sutherland,  that  during  these  distressing  times  a  large 
quantity  of  meal  was  deposited  in  some  of  his  Grace's  stores  and  entrusted 
to  some  of  his  factors  for  distribution,  and  that  that  meal  was  concealed 
or  unrighteously  kept  from  the  people  for  a  whole  twelvemonth,  and  used 
for  feeding  dogs,  swine,  poultry,  and  cattle,  until  it  became  so  rotten  that 
it  was  found  dangerous  to  the  health  of  these  animals,  then  men  were 
employed  to  hurl  it  out  to  middens  and  to  the  sea  in  rotten  blue  lumps  ; 
great  quantities  of  it  were  disposed  of  in  this  way,  while  the  poor  were 
chiefly  feeding  upon  shell  fish  and  sea  weeds.  This  is  a  grave  charge 
against  his  Grace  and  his  wicked  servants,  who  were,  at  all  hazards, 
determined  to  destroy  the  people  ;  I  have  seen  them  living  in  Canada,  and 
not  far  from  me,  who  were  employed  for  days  at  this  work.  Whether  his 
Grace  or  his  head  commissioner,  James  Loch,  dictated,  or  at  least 
supplied  Mrs.  H.  B.  Stowe  with  all  the  information  she  required  to  make 
up  chapter  seventeenth  of  her  Sunny  Memories,  (a  lady  whom  I  will 
use  the  liberty  to  address  afterwards,  but  to  whom  I  am  not,  at  ])resent 
afraid  to  tell  her  if  she  founded  the  information  in  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin 
upon  no  better  evidence  than  she  had  on  this  occasion,  that  very  little 
credence  can  be  placed  in  it).  I  say  whether  these  personages,  along 
with  Lord  Trevelyan  and  his  Quarter  Deck  Inspector  were  collectively  or 
seperately  connected  with  this  diabolical  outrage  upon  justice  and 
humanity,  is  better  known  to  themselves;  but  one  thing  is  evident,  the 
crime  was  committed  by  their  underlings,  and  let  the  reproach  remain, 
among  them  as  an  immortal  stain  upon  their  character.  Black  and 
deformed  as  their  deeds  were,  they  were  not  without  their  precedents  in 
the  history  of  distributions  in  Sutherlandshire,  which  you  will  see  as  we 
proceed.  To  be  brief,  T  believe  that  if  a  correct  history  of  the  distribu- 
tion of  this  munificent  gift  of  nations,  the  squandering  away  of  the  money 
and  its  misapplications  could  be  obtained,  it  would  be  the  most  disgraceful 
which  ever  has  been  recorded,  and  that  it  would  be  the  astonishment  of 
mankind,  how  could  men  professing  Christianity  and  of  good  standing  in 
society,  be  hardened  so  much  as  to  commit  such  villany,  or  how  could 
fchey  ever  afterwards  have  the  effrontery  to  shew  their  face  in  society.  At 
the  clo.sing  up  of  the  affair  the  public  requested  the  trustees  and  officials 
to  render  an  account  of  their  stewardship.     Accountants  were  employed 


XIU 

for  months  examining  their  lx>oks.  It  was  found  out  that  six  or  seven 
thousand  pounds  sterling  were  wanted  that  could  not  be  accounted  for  at 
all,  and  their  accounts  and  disbursements  so  much  confounded  and  con- 
fused that  scrutiny  was  given  up,  and  the  infamous  aflair  hushed  up,  and 
the  wholesale  plunderers  allowed  to  escape  with  the  booty,  unblushingly  to 
mix  with  society.  This  is  all  the  satisfaction  the  liberal  contributors  got, 
or  ever  will,  excepting  Highland  Dukes,  Lords,  tkc,  no  doubt  satisfactory 
to  them,  for  they  got  for  ceitainty  the  benefit  of  one  hundred  and  thirty 
thousand  pounds  of  it ;  take  along  with  this.  Captain  Elliot  with  his  crew 
of  marines  and  sailors,  him  receiving  his  £1  10s.  per  day,  and  his  subor- 
didates  receiving  equal  sums,  according  to  their  rank,  and  a  host  of  agents 
and  officials  on  full  pay,  yon  may  easily  believe  that  a  verysniall  jwrtion 
of  this  extraordinary  ])ublic  bounty  ever  reached  the  stoBfcpJis  of  the 
poor  for  whom  it  was  intended.  Indeed  it  is  a  question  with  me  if  the 
poor  realised  any  benefit  at  all  from  it,  except  those  who  had  been  trans- 
ported to  Canada  and  other  colonies  with  it.  I  know  for  a  certainty  that 
after  the  funds  were  exhausted,  that  the  people  were  in  a  worse  state  than 
they  were  before,  and  that  the  misa)>j)lication  of  these  funds  sealed  the 
public  bowels  of  compassion  against  them  in  future.  Foi-  many  years  I 
was  expostulating  with  the  late  and  present  Dukes  of  Sutherland  in  my 
own  humble  way,  for  their  policy  towards  their  peoj)le.  In  1841  I  pub- 
lished so  many  of  my  letters  in  the  form  of  a  pamphlet,  which  is  here 
reprinted — some  niay  think  that  I  have  some  particular  private  spleen 
against  the  House  of  Sutherland,  when  I  lay  so  hea^•y  at  them.  To 
disabuse  the  mind  of  such,  permit  me  to  say  (honestly)  that  I  have  no 
such  private  spleen  to  gratify,  and  that  I  have  no  more  animosity  towards 
the  House  of  Sutherland  than  I  have  towards  all  other  Highland  depopu- 
lators.  That  I  was  persecuted  and  suflered  much  at  the  hands  of  the 
underlings  of  the  House  of  Sutherland  I  do  not  deny  nor  conceal.  But 
it  is  the  ten-times  cursed  system  which  desolated  Caledonia,  beggared  and 
pauperised  the  people,  which  broke  down  and  scattered  to  the  four  winds 
of  heaven  the  best  portion  of  the  materials  of  our  national  bulwarks,  which 
robbed  the  people  of  their  righteous  rights,  and  left  them  the  victims  of 
their  avaricious  spoilers  and  defamers.  'I  his  is  the  system  to  which  I  will 
be  an  avowed  enemy  and  antagonist  wliile  I  breathe  the  breath  of  life. 
You  have  now  my  former  productions  before  you. 


INTRODUCTION  TO  MY  FIRST  PAMPHLET. 

Famine  and  destitution  in  the  Higlilands  of  Scotland  have  become 
proverbial,  and  if  not  altogether  continuous,  are  at  least  the  rule,  while 
any  little  gleams  of  improvement  or  partial  alleviation  form  the  excep- 
tion. There  arc,  however,  there  as  eksewhere,  a  considerable  number 
who  suffer  lew  of  the  evils  that  flesh  is  heir  to,  but  who  thrive  and  fatten 
on  the  miseries  of  their  victims — the  jHwr  natives,   whom  they  insult, 


XIV 

oppress,  and  expatriate,  without  apparently  the  least  compunction  for 
the  extreme  distress  they  occasion. 

Every  effect  must  have  a  cause,  and  that  cause  I  shall  only  glance  at 
here,  as  it  will  be  sufficiently   apparent  in  the  course  of  my  narration. 

During  the  Peninsular  war  an  uncommon  demand  for  provisions  of  all 
description  arose,  and  when,  on  the  return  of  peace,  this  temporary  de- 
mand was  subsiding,  the  landlords,  being  the  legislators,  contrived  to 
keep  up  the  extravagant  war  prices,  by  a  system  of  prohibitions  against 
all  foreign  produce,  so  as  to  make  a  permanent  artificial  scarcity,  and 
cmsequent  dearth  throughout  the  country,  that  they  might  continue  to 
pa^|et  the  incr^sed  rents  the  war  prices  had  enabled  them  to  realise 
in  a^'SeprccJitld  currency.  This,  tlien,  was  the  moving  spring  which 
led  to  "tflpiCS^^^'^^  conspiracy  of  landlords  against  the  before  undis- 
puted rights  of  the  inhabitants,  to  a  residence  on  their  paternal  soil 
which  they  had  so  often  defended  with  their  blood,  and  to  a  subsistence 
from  its  produce  in  return  for  their  industry.  Hence  the  severities 
exercised  in  the  most  reckless  manner,  against  the  aborigines  of  the 
Highlands  in  general,  and  those  of  Sutherlandshire  in  particular  ;  severi- 
ties which  have  almost  annihilated  that  habitual  fidelity  to,  and  respect 
for  his  superiors,  for  which  the  Gael  was  always  so  remarkable,  and 
which  formed  the  leading  moral  trait  in  his  character,  and  was  identified 
Avith  his  very  existence.  These  bonds  have  been  rudely  severed ;  the 
immediate  descendants  of  those  serfs  and  retainers  whose  attachment 
to  their  chiefs  was  a  passion,  and  for  whom  they  were  at  any  time,  ready 
to  lay  down  their  lives,  have  been  robbed,  oppressed,  and  driven  away, 
to  make  room  for  flocks  and  herds  to  supply  the  intense  demand  of  the 
English  market,  excited  by  the  legal  prohibition  of  continental  produce, 
and  the  wants  of  a  rapidly  increasing  population. 

The  motive  of  the  landlords  was  self-interest;  and  in  the  Highlands  it 
has  been  pursued  with  a  recklessness  and  remorselessness  to  which  the 
proverbial  tyranny  and  selfishness  of  that  class  elsewhere  furnishes  no 
parallel.  Law  and  justice,  religion  and  humanity,  have  been  either 
totally  disregarded,  or  what  was  still  worse,  converted  into  instruments  of 
opjiression. 

The  expulsion  of  the  natives  and  the  substitution  of  strange  adven- 
turers—  sheep  farmers,  generally  from  England  and  from  the  English 
border — being,  as  it  were,  simultaneously  agreed  upon  by  the  Highland 
proprietors,  instruments  were  readily  found  to  carry  their  plans  into 
eflfect,  who  soon  became  so  zealous  in  the  service — not,  however,  forget- 
ting to  profit  by  the  plunder  in  the  meantime — that  they  carried  their 
atrocities  to  a  height  which  would  have  appalled  their  employers  them- 
selves, had  they  been  witnesses  of  them.  Every  imaginable  means,  short 
of  the  sword  or  the  musket,  was  put  into  requisition  to  drive  the  natives 
away,  or  to  force  them  to  exchange  their  farms  and  comfortable  habita- 
tions, erected  by  themselves  or  their  forefathers,  for  inhospitable  rocks  on 
the  sea  shore,  and  to  depend  for  subsistence  on  the  produce  of  the  watery 
element  in  its  wildest  mood,  and  with  whose  perils  they,  in  their  hitherto 
pastoral  life,  were  totally  unacquainted  and  unfitted  to  contend. 


XV 

This  state  of  things,  whicli  I  have  reason  to  know,  has  prevailed  more 
or  less  in  all  the  Highland  districts  for  more  than  20  years,  has  carried  to 
the  greatest  height  in  Sutherland.  That  unfortunate  country  was  made 
another  Moscow.  The  inhabitants  were  literally  burnt  out,  and  every 
contrivance  of  ingenious  and  unrelenting  cruelty  was  eagerly  adopted  for 
extirpating  the  race.  Many  lives  were  sacrificed  by  famine  and  other 
hardships  and  privations ;  hundreds  stripped  of  their  all,  emigrated  to 
the  Canadas  and  other  parts  of  America;  great  numbers  especially  of 
the  young  and  athletic,  sought  employment  m  the  Lowlands  and  in 
England,  where,  few  of  them  being  skilled  workmen,  they  were  obliged — 
even  farmers  who  had  lived  in  comparative  affluence  in  their  own  counti*y— 
to  compete  with  common  labourers  as  hewers  of  wood  arjl  drawers  of 
water,  in  communities  where  their  language  and  simple  mai^Bj^pr^ndered 
them  objects  of  derision  and  ridicule.  The  aged  and  infirnv^he  widows 
and  orphans,  with  those  who  could  not  think  of  leaving  them  alone  in 
their  helplessness ;  and  a  number  whose  attachment  to  the  soil  which 
contained  the  ashes  of  their  ancestors,  and  the  temples  where  they  had 
worshipped,  in  hopes  of  some  change  for  the  better,  were  induced  to 
accept  of  the  wretched  allotments  offered  them  on  wild  moors  and  barren 
rocks.  These  and  their  offspring  remain  in  the  country  and  form  the  poor , 
whose  constant  destitution  and  periodical  famine  is  beginning  to  exercise 
more  attention,  than  is  agreeable  to  those  who  have  been  the  cause  of  their 
miseries,  lest  many  dark  and  infamous  deeds  should,  by  an  authorised 
enquiry  be  revealed  in  open  day.  Hence  the  violent  opposition  to  a  Gov- 
ernment enquiry  conducted  by  impartial  persons.  The  lairds  have  no 
objection  to  an  enquiry  to  be  conducted  by  themselves  and  the  resident 
clergy,  knowing  that  in  that  case,  they  would  be  quite  safe,  and  the  report 
would  of  course  lay  all  the  blame  on  the  inveterate  sloth,  and  vicious 
habits  they  have  unceasingly  laboured  to  assign  els  the  causes  of  Highland 
destitution.  Such  a  course  of  dark  and  inhumam  policy  as  that  so  long 
going  on  in  the  Highlands,  could  not  have  existed  if  the  public  had  been 
properly  aware  of  it,  but  among  a  simple  illiterate  people,  speaking  a  pro- 
vincial dialect,  it  was  easy  for  landlords,  clergy,  factors,  and  new  tenants 
combined,  who  constituted  the  local  administrators  of  both  the  law  and 
gospel — men  possessed  of  wealth,  influence,  talents  and  education — it  was 
easy  for  them  to  effect  their  purposes,  and  stiffle  till  enquiry,  while  the  mild 
nature,  and  religious  training  of  the  poor  Highlanders,  prevented  their 
resorting  to  that  detennined  resistance  and  wild  revenge  which  sometimes 
sets  bounds  to  the  i*apacity  of  landlords  and  clergy  in  the  sister  island. 
The  Highlanders  had  not  language  to  make  his  wrongs  known  through 
the  press,  nor  did  he  resort  to  the  ruthless  deed ;  hence  he  has  been 
opj)ressed  with  impunity,  while  his  persecutors  hold  up  their  head.s  as 
honourable  gentlemen,  and  goodly  ministers !  I  am  truly  sorry  that  truth 
has  obliged  me  to  represent  the  character  of  these  latter  gentlemen  in  such 
an  unfavourable  light,  but  I  am  convinced  that  had  they  done  their  duty, 
in  denouncing  the  wrongs  perpetrated  before  their  eyes,  instead  of  becom- 
ing auxiliaries,  the  other  parties  would  in  most  cases,  have  been  unable  to 
proceed.     The  oppressors  always  ai)peale<l  to  them  for  sanction  and  justi- 


XVI 

fication  and  were  not  disappointed.  The  foulest  deeds  were  glossed  over, 
and  all  the  evil  which  could  not  be  attributed  to  the  natives  themselves, 
such  as  severe  seasons,  famine,  and  consequent  disease,  was  by  these  i)ious 
gentlemen  ascribed  to  Providence,  as  a  jmnishnient  for  sin — the  other 
parties  who  were  enriching  themselves,  of  course  never  sinned,  for  they 
were  rolling  in  wealth  and  luxury  at  the  expense  of  the  poor  sinners  1 
Such  was  the  holy  teaching  of  these  learned  clerks.  They  had  always  the 
ear  and  confidence  of  the  proprietors,  and  I  put  it  to  their  consciences  to 
say  how  often,  if  ever,  they  exerted  that  influence  in  favor  of  the  oppressed, 
To  the  tribunal  of  that  Master  whose  servants  they  pretend  to  be  I  cite 
them,  where  hypocrisy  and  glaring  perversions  will  not  avail !  At  this 
same  tribunal  also  I  might  arraign  those  unjust  men  who  perverted  the 
judgment  s^t,  and  made  what  should  have  been  a  protection,  an  instru- 
ment of  oppression.  But  at  present  I  muse  beg  the  reader's  attention  to 
the  following  narrative,  in  which  I  have  endeavored,  by  a  recital  of  uncom- 
tradicted  and  undeniable  facts,  to  bring  these  parties  to  the  bar  of  public 
opinion.  Hitherto,  during  all  the  time  that  has  passed  in  the  publication 
of  these  letters,  no  attempt  has  been  made  to  deny  the  facts  I  have  alleged, 
though  I  have  repeatedly  challenged  such  contradiction. 

Instead  of  my  narrative  exceeding  truth,  it  has  in  realityfallen  far  short 
of  it ;  for  no  language  that  I  am  able  to  use,  can  convey  an  adequate  idea 
of  the  wrongs  and  sufi'erings  of  my  unfortunate  countrymen.  While  T 
feel  myself  called  on  by  a  sense  of  duty  to  bring  these  wrongs  and  suffer- 
ings before  the  public,  I  regret  that  the  subject  has  not  fallen  into  abler 
hands;  but,  silence  in  the  face  of  such  a  mass  of  cruelty  and  iniquity 
would  be  enough  to  make  the  very  stones  cry  out !  Having  by  the  kind 
ness  of  the  Editor  of  the  Edinhurgh  Weekiy  Chronicle  been  furnished 
with  a  vehicle,  and  assisted  by  other  kind  friends  and  correspondents, 
these  letters  have  already  met  the  public  eye  in  the  columns  of  that 
excellent  paper,  to  the  Editors  and  Proprietors  of  which  I  and  my 
countrymen  are  so  much  indebted.  I  am  now  induced  to  comply  with 
the  urgent  request  of  great  numbers  of  my  countrymen  and  others,  to 
re-puplish  the  letters  in  the  form  of  a  pamphlet.  I  have  engaged  in  this 
undertaking  in  the  full  confidence  of  the  kind  support  of  my  countrymen 
and  fellow- suflferers  and  their  descendants,  in  whatever  place  or  country, 
here  or  across  the  Atlantic,  divine  Providence  may  have  fixed  their 
destiny,  in  the  fervent  \\o\)Q  that  He — 

*'  Who  sees  with  equal  eyes,  as  Lord  of  all, 
The  hero  perish  and  the  sparrow  fall, " 

will  so  overrule  events  as  to  bring  ultimate  good  out  of  the  severe  trials 
which  He  hath  permitted  to  overtake  my  dear  country,  and  that — 

"  Though  harsh  and  bitter  is  the  root, 
Yet  sweet  will  be  the  flower  ! ' 


DESTITaTION     IX     SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 


LETTER    I. 

{To  the  Editor  of  the  Edinburgh   Weekly  Chronicle.) 

Sir  : — I  am  a  native  of  Sutherlandshire,  and  remember  when  the 
inhabitants  of  that  country  lived  comfortably  and  happily,  when  the  man- 
sions of  proprietors  and  the  abodes  of  factors,  magistrates,  and  ministers, 
were  the  seats  of  honor,  truth,  and  good  example — when  people  of  quality 
were  indeed  what  they  were  styled,  the  friends  and  benefactors  of  all  who 
lived  upon  their  domains.  But  all  this  is  changed.  Alas,  alas!  I  liave 
lived  to  see  calamity  upon  calamity  overtake  the  Sutherlandei's.  For  five 
successive  years  on  or  about  the  term  day,  has  scarcely  anything  been 
seen  but  removing  the  inhabitants  in  the  most  cruel  and  unfeeling  man- 
ner, and  burning  the  houses  which  they  and  their  forefathers  had  occupied 
from  time  immemorial.  The  country  was  darkened  by  the  smoke  of  the 
burnings,  and  the  descendants  of  those  who  drew  their  swords  at  Bannock- 
burn,  Sherifi*muir,  and  Killicrankie — the  children  and  nearest  relations  of 
those  who  sustained  the  honor  of  the  British  name  in  many  a  bloody  field — 
the  heroes  of  Egypt,  Corunna,  Toulouse,  Salamanca,  and  Waterloo — were 
ruined,  trampled  upon,  dispersed,  and  compelled  to  seek  an  asylum  across 
the  Atlantic;  while  those  who  remained  from  inability  to  emigrate,  de- 
piived  of  all  the  comforts  of  life,  became  paupers — beggars — a  disgrace  to 
the  nation  whose  freedom  and  honour  many  of  them  had  maintained  by 
their  valour  and  cemented  with  their  blood. 

To  those  causes  the  destitution  and  misery  that  exists  in  Sutherland- 
shire are  to  be  ascribed;  misery  as  great,  if  not  the  greatest  to  be  found 
in  any  part  of  the  Highlands,  and  that  not  the  fruit  of  indolence  or  im- 
providence, as  some  would  allege,  but  the  inevitable  result  of  the  avarice 
and  tyranny  of  the  landlords  and  factors  for  the  last  thirty  or  forty  years; 
of  treatment,  I  persume  to  say,  without  a  parallel  in  the  history  of  this 
nation.  1  know  that  a  great  deal  has  been  done  to  mitigate  the  sulierings 
of  the  Highlanders  some  years  back,  both  by  Government  aid  and  public 
subscriptions,  but  the  unhappy  country  of  Sutherland  was  excluded  from 
the  benefits  derived  from  these  sources,  by  means  of  false  statements  and 
public  speeches,  made  by  hired  agents,  or  by  those  whose  interest  it  was 
to  conceal  the  misery  and  destitution  in  the  country  of  which  themselves 
were  the  authors.  Thus  the  Sutherlandshire  sufferers  liave  been  sliut  out 
from  receiving  the  assistance  afforded  by  Government  or  by  private  in 
dividuals  ;  and  owing  to  the  thraldom  and  subjugation  in  which  this  once 
brave  and  happy  people  are  to  factors,  magisti*ates,  and  ministers,  they 
durst  scarce  whimper  a  complaint,  much  less  say  plainly,  "  Thus  and  tlius 
have  you  done." 


On  the  20th  of  last  April,  a  meeting  of  noblemen  and  gentlemen,  con- 
nected ^vith  different  districts  of  Scotland,  was  held  in  the  British  Hotel, 
Edinburgh,  for  the  ])urpose  of  making  inquiry  into  the  misery  and  des- 
titution prevailing  in  Scotland,  and  particularly  in  the  Highlands,  with  a 
view  to  discover  the  causes  and  discuss  means  for  meeting  the  prevailing 
evil.  Gentlemen  were  appointed  to  make  the  necessary  inquiry,  and  a 
committee  named,  with  which  these  gentlemen  were  to  communicate.  At 
this  meeting  a  Sutherlandshire  proprietor  made  such  representations  re- 
garding the  inhabitants  of  that  county,  that,  relying,  I  suppose,  on  his 
mere  assertions,  the  proposed  enquiry  has  never  been  carried  into  that 
district.  Under  these  circumstances,  I,  who  have  been  largely  a  sufferer, 
and  a  spectator  of  the  sufferings  of  multitudes  of  my  countrymen,  would 
have  felt  myself  deeply  culpable  if  I  kept  silence,  and  did  not  take  means 
to  lay  before  the  committee  and  the  public  the  information  of  which  I  am 
possessed,  to  put  the  benevolent  on  their  guard  respecting  the  men  who 
undertake  to  pervert,  if  they  cannot  stifle,  the  inquiry  as  to  the  causes  and 
extent  of  distress  in  the  shire  of  Sutherland.  With  a  view  to  discharging 
this  encumbent  duty,  I  published  a  few  remarks,  signed  'A  Highlander,' 
in  the  Edinhurgh  Weekly  Journal  of  29th  May  last,  on  the  aforesaid 
proprietor's  speech;  to  which  he  made  a  reply,  accusing  me  of  singular 
ignorance  and  misrepresentation,  and  endeavouring  to  exonerate  himself. 
Another  letter  has  since  appeared  in  the  same  paper,  signed,  "A  Suther- 
landshire Tenant,"  denying  my  assertions  and  challenging  me  to  prove 
them  by  stating  facts.  To  meet  this  challenge,  and  to  let  these  parties 
know  that  I  am  not  so  ignorant  as  they  represent;  and  also  to  afford 
information  to  the  before-mentioned  committee,  it  being  impossible  for 
those  gentlemen  to  apply  an  adequate  remedy  till  they  know  the  real 
cause  and  nature  of  the  disease,  I  addressed  a  second  letter  to  the  editor 
of  the  Weekly  Journal',  but,  to  my  astonishment,  it  was  refused  inser- 
tion ;  through  what  influence  I  am  not  prepared  to  say.  I  have,  in  con- 
sequence, been  subjected  to  much  reflection  and  obloquy  for  deserting  a 
cause  which  would  be  so  much  benefitted  by  public  discussion  ;  and  for 
failing  to  substantiate  charges  so  publicly  made.  I  have,  therefore,  now  to 
request,  that,  through  the  medium  of  your  valuable  and  impartial  paper, 
the  public  may  be  made  acquainted  with  the  real  state  of  the  case ;  and  I 
pledge  myself  not  only  to  meet  the  two  opponents  mentioned,  but  to  pro- 
duce and  substantiate  such  a  series  of  appalling  facts,  as  will  sufficiently 
account  for  the  distress  j^revailing  in  Sutherlandshire;  and,  I  trust  have 
a  tendancy  towards  its  mitigation. 


LETTER    II. 

Sir, — Previous  to  redeeming  my  pledge  to  bring  before  the  Public  a 
series  of  facts  relating  to  the  more  recent  oppressions  and  expatriation  of 
the  unfortunate  inhabitants  of  Sutherlandshire,  it  is  necessary  to  take  a 
brief  retrospective  glance  at  the  original  causes. 


3 

Down  from  the  feudal  times,  the  inhabitants  of  the  hills  and  straths  of 
Sutherlandshire,  in  a  state  of  transition  from  vassalage  to  tenancy,  looked 
upon  the  fj^nns  they  occupied  from  their  ancestors  as  their  own,  though 
subject  to  the  arrangements  as  to  rent,  duties  and  services  imposed  by 
the  cliief  in  possession,  to  whom,  though  his  own  title  might  be  equivocal, 
they  habitually  looked  u])  with  a  degree  of  clannish  veneration.  Every 
thing  was  done  "  to  please  the  Laird."  In  this  kind  of  patriarchal 
dominion  on  the  one  side,  and  obedience  and  confidence  on  the  other,  did 
the  late  tenantry  and  their  progenitors  experience  much  happiness,  and  a 
degree  of  congenial  comfort  and  simple  pastoral  enjoyment.  But  the  late 
war  and  its  consequences  interfered  with  this  happy  state  of  things,  and 
hence  a  foundation  was  laid  for  all  the  suffering  and  depopulation  which 
has  followed.  This  has  not  been  peculiar  to  Sutherlandshire;  the  general 
plan  of  almost  all  the  Highland  proprietors  of  that  period  being  to  get  rid 
of  the  original  inhabitants,  and  turn  the  land  into  sheep  farms,  though 
from  ixtculiar  circumstances  this  plan  was  there  carried  into  effect  with 
more  revolting  and  wholesale  severity  than  in  any  of  the  surrounding 
counties. 

The  first  attempt  at  this  general  clearing  was  partially  made  in  Koss- 
shire,  about  the  beginning  of  the  present  century ;  but  from  the  resistance 
of  the  tenantry  and  other  causes,  has  never  been  carried  into  general 
operation.  The  same  was  more  or  less  the  case  in  other  counties. 
Effects  do  not  occur  without  cause,  nor  do  men  become  tyrants  and 
monsters  of  cruelty  all  at  once.  Self-interest,  real  or  imaginary,  first 
j>rompts;  the  moral  boundary  is  overstepped,  the  oppressed  offer  either 
j.assive  or  active  resistance,  and,  in  the  arrogance  of  power,  the  strong 
resort  to  such  means  as  will  effect  their  purpose,  reckless  of  conse- 
quences, and  enforcing  what  they  call  the  rights  of  property,  utterly 
neglect  its  duties.  I  do  not  pretend  to  represent  the  late  Ducliess  or 
Duke  of  Sutherlandshire  in  particular,  as  destitute  of  the  common  attri- 
butes of  humanity,  however  atrocious  may  have  been  the  acts  perpetrated 
in  their  name,  or  by  their  authority.  They  were  generally  absentees,  and 
while  they  gave-in  to  the  general  clearing  scheme,  I  have  no  doubt  they 
wished  it  to  be  carried  into  effect  with  as  little  hardship  as  possible.  But 
their  prompters  and  underlings  pursued  a  more  reckless  course,  and, 
intent  only  on  their  own  selfish  ends,  deceived  these  high  personages, 
representing  the  people  as  slothful  and  rebellious,  while,  as  they  pre- 
tended, every.thing  necessary  was  done  for  their  accomodation. 

I  have  mentioned  above,  that  the  late  war  and  its  consequences  laid  the 
foundation  of  the  evils  complained  of.  Great  Britian  with  her  immense 
naval  and  military  establishments,  being  in  a  great  measure  shut  out  from 
foreign  supplies,  and  in  a  state  of  hostility  or  non-intercourse  with  all 
Europe  and  Noilh  America,  almost  all  the  necessaries  of  life  had  to  be 
drawn  from  our  own  soil.  Hence,  its  whole  jx^wers  of  production  were 
required  to  supply  the  immense  and  daily  increasing  demand ;  and  while 
the  agricultural  portions  of  tlio  country  were  strained  to  yield  an  increase 
of  grain,  the  more  northern  and  mountainous  districts  vrere  looked  to  for 
additional  supplies  of  animal  food.     Hence,  also,  all  the  speculations  to 


get  rid  of  the  human  inhabitants  of  the  Higlilands,  and  replace  tlieiu  with 
cattle  and  sheep  for  the  English  market.  At  tlie  conclusion  of  the  war, 
these  eftects  were  about  to  cease  with  their  cause,  but  the  corn  laws,  and 
other  food  taxes,  then  interfered,  and  by  excluding  foreign  animal  food 
altogether,  and  grain  till  it  was  at  a  famine  price,  caused  the  increasing 
population  to  press  against  home  produce,  so  as  still  to  make  it  the  in- 
terest of  the  Highland  lairds  to  prefer  cattle  to  human  beings,  and  to 
encourage  speculators  with  capital,  from  England  and  the  south  of  Scot- 
land, to  take  the  lands  over  the  heads  of  the  original  tenantry.  Thus 
Highland  wrongs  were  continued,  and  annually  augmented,  till  the  mass 
of  guilt  on  the  one  hand,  and  of  suffering  on  the  other,  became  so  great 
as  almost  to  exceed  description  of  belief.  Hence  the  difficulty  of  bringing 
it  fully  before  the  public,  especially  as  those  interested  in  suppressing 
inquiry  are  numerous,  powerful,  and  unsparing  in  the  use  of  every  in- 
fluence to  stop  the  mouths  of  the  sufferers.  Almost  all  the  new  tenants 
in  Sutherlandshire  have  been  made  justices  of  the  peace,  or  otherwise 
armed  with  authority,  and  can  thus,  under  colour  of  law,  commit  violence 
and  oppression  wdienever  they  find  it  convenient — the  poor  people  having 
no  redress,  and  scarce  daring  even  to  complain.  The  clergy,  also,  whose 
duty  it  is  to  denounce  the  oppressor,  and  aid  the  oppressed,  have  all,  the 
whole  seventeen  parish  ministers  in  Sutherlandshire,  with  one  exception, 
found  their  account  in  abetting  the  wrongdoers,  exhorting  the  people  to 
quiet  submission,  helping  to  stifle  their  cries,  telling  them  that  all  their 
sufferings  came  from  the  hand  of  God,  and  was  a  just  punishment  for 
their  sins  !  In  what  manner  those  reverend  gentlemen  were  benefitted  by 
the  change,  and  bribed  thus  to  desert  the  cause  of  the  people,  I  shall 
explain  as  I  proceed. 

The  whole  country,  with  the  exception  of  a  comparatively  small  part  of 
one  parish,  held  by  Mr  Dempster  of  Skibo,  and  similar  portions  cm  the  out- 
skirts of  the  county  held  by  two  or  three  other  proprietors,  is  now  in  the 
hands  of  the  Sutherland  family,  who,  very  raiely,  perhaps  only  once  in 
four  or  five  years,  visit  their  Highland  estates.  Hence  the  impunity 
afforded  to  the  actors  in  the  scenes  of  devastation  and  cruelty — the 
wholesale  expulsion  of  the  people,  and  pulling  down  and  burning  their 
habitations,  which  latter  proceeding  was  peculiar  to  Sutherlandshire.  In 
my  subsequent  communications  I  shall  produce  a  selection  of  such  facts  and 
incidents  as  can  be  supported  by  sufficient  testimony,  to  many  of  which  I 
was  an  eye-witness,  or  was  otherwise  cognizant  of  them.  I  have  been, 
with  my  family,  for  many  years,  removed,  and  at  a  distance  from  those 
scenes,  and  have  no  personal  malice  to  gratify,  my  only  motive  being  a 
desire  to  vindicate  my  ill  used  countrymen  from  the  aspersions  cast  upon 
them,  to  draw  public  attention  to  their  wrongs,  and  if  possible  to  bring 
about  a  fair  inquiry,  to  be  conducted  by  disinterested  gentlemen,  as  to  the 
real  cause  of  their  long-protracted  misery  and  destitution,  in  order,  that 
the  public  sympathies  may  be  awakened  in  their  behalf,  and  something 
effected  for  their  relief.  With  these  observations  I  now  conclude,  and  in 
my  next  letter  I  vvill  enter  upon  my  narration  of  a  few  of  such  facts  as 
can  be  fully  authenticated  by  living  testimony. 


LETTER    III. 

Sir, — In  my  last  letter,  I  endeavoured  to  trace  the  causes  that  led  to 
the  general  clearing  and  consequent  distress  in  Sutherlandshire,  which 
dates  its  commencement  from  the  year  1807.  Previous  to  that  period, 
partial  removals  had  taken  place,  on  the  estates  of  Lord  Reay,  Mr.  Honey- 
man  of  Armidale,  and  others:  but  these  removals  were  under  ordinary  and 
comi»aritively  favouml^le  circumstances.  Those  who  were  ejected  from 
their  farms,  were  accommodated  with  smaller  portions  of  land,  and  those 
who  chose  to  emigrate  had  means  in  their  power  to  do  so,  by  the  sale  of 
their  cattle,  which  then  fetched  an  extraordinary  high  price.  But  in  the 
year  above  mentioned,  the  system  commenced  on  the  Duchess  of  Suther- 
land's proi)erty ;  about  90  families  were  removed  from  the  parishes  of  Farr 
and  Larg.  These  people  were,  however,  in  some  degree  provided  for,  by 
giving  them  smaller  lots  of  land,  but  many  of  these  lots  were  at  a  distance 
of  from  10  to  17  miles,  so  that  the  people  had  to  remove  their  cattle  and 
furniture  thither,  leaving  their  crops  on  the  ground  behind.  Watching 
this  crop  from  trespass  of  the  cattle  of  the  incoming  tenants,  and  removing 
it  in  the  autumn,  was  attended  with  great  difficulty  and  loss.  Besides, 
there  was  also  much  personal  suffering,  from  their  having  to  pull  down 
their  houses  and  carry  away  the  timber  of  them,  to  erect  houses  on  their 
new  possessions,  which  houses  they  had  to  inhabit  immediately  on  being 
covered  in,  and  in  the  meantime,  to  live  and  sleep  in  the  open  air,  except 
a  few,  who  might  be  fortunate  enough  to  get  an  unoccupied  barn,  or  shed, 
from  some  of  their  charitable  new  come  neighbours. 

The  effects  of  these  circumstances  on  the  health  of  the  aged  and  infirm, 
and  on  the  women  and  children,  may  be  readily  conceived — some  lost 
their  lives,  and  others  contracted  diseases  that  stuck  to  them  for  life. 

During  the  year  1809,  in  the  parishes  of  Dornoch,  Rogart,  Loth,  Clyne, 
and  Golspie,  an  extensive  removal  took  place ;  several  hundred  families 
were  turned  out,  but  under  circumstances  of  greater  severity  than  the 
preceding.  Every  means  were  resorted  to,  to  discourage  the  people,  and 
to  persuade  them  to  give  up  their  holdings  quietly,  and  quit  the  country ; 
and  to  those  who  could  not  bo  induced  to  do  so,  scraps  of  moor,  and  bog 
lands  were  oliered  in  Dornoch  moor,  and  Brora  links,  on  which  it  was 
next  to  inipossible  to  exist,  in  order  that  they  may  be  scared  into  going 
entirely  away.  At  this  time,  the  estate  was  under  the  management  of 
Mr.  Young,  a  corn-dealer,  as  chief,  and  Mr.  Patrick  Sellar,  a  writer,  as 
Tinder-factor,  the  later  of  whom  will  make  a  conspicuous  figure  in  my 
future  communications.  These  gentlemen  were  both  from  Morayshire; 
and,  in  order  to  favour  their  own  country  people,  and  get  rid  of  the 
natives,  the  former  were  constantly  employed  in  all  the  injprovemonts 
and  public  works  under  their  direction,  while  the  latter  were  tjiken  at 
inferior  wages,  and  only  when  strangers  could  not  be  had. 

Thus,  a  large  portion  of  the  people  of  these  five  parishes  were,  in  the 
course  of  two  or  three  veal's,  almost  entirely  rooted  out,  and  those  few 
who  took  the  miserable  Hllotments  above  mentioned,  and  some  of  their 
descendants,  continue  to  exist  on  them  in  great  poverty.      Among  these 


G 

were  the  widows  and  orphans  of  those  heads  of  families  who  had  been 
drowned  in  the  same  year,  in  going  to  attend  a  fair,  when  upwards  of 
one  lumdred  individuals  lost  their  lives,  while  crossing  the  ferry  between 
Sutherland  and  Tain.  These  destitute  creatures  were  obliged  to  accept  of 
any  spot  which  afforded  them  a  residence,  from  inability  to  go  elsewhere. 

From  this  time  till  1812  the  process  of  eijection  was  carried  on  annually, 
in  a  greater  or  less  degree,  and  during  this  period  the  estates  of  Gordon- 
bush  and  Uppet  were  added,  by  purchase,  to  the  ducal  property,  and  in 
the  subsequent  years,  till  1829,  the  whole  of  the  country,  with  the  small 
exceptions  before  mentioned,  had  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  great  family. 

In  the  year  1811  a  new  era  of  depopulation  commenced  ;  summonses 
of  removal  were  served  on  large  portions  of  the  inhabitants.  The  lands 
were  divided  into  extensive  lots,  and  advertised  to  be  let  as  sheep  farms. 

Strangers  were  seen  daily  traversing  the  country,  viewing  these  lots, 
previous  to  bidding  for  them.  They  appeared  to  be  in  great  fear  of  rough 
treatment  from  the  inhabitants  they  were  about  to  supersede;  but  the 
event  proved  they  had  no  cause ;  they  were  uniformly  treated  with 
civility,  and  even  hospitality,  thus  affording  no  excuse  for  the  measures 
of  severity  to  which  the  factors  and  their  adherents  afterwards  had  re- 
course. However,  the  pretext  desired  was  soon  found  in  an  apparently 
concerted  plan.  A  person  from  the  south,  of  the  name  of  Reid,  a  manager 
on  one  of  the  sheep  farms,  raised  an  alarm  that  he  had  been  pursued  by 
some  of  the  natives  of  Kildonan,  and  jDut  in  bodily  fear.  The  factors 
eagerly  jumped  at  this  trumped-up  story;  they  immediately  swore  in  from 
sixty  to  one  hundred  retainers,  and  the  new  inhabitants,  as  special  con- 
stal)les,  trimmed  and  charged  the  cannon  at  Dunrobin  Castle,  which  had 
reposed  in  silence  since  the  last  defeat  of  the  unfortunate  Stuarts. 
Messengers  were  then  dispatched,  warning  the  people  to  attend  at  the 
castle  at  a  certain  hour,  under  the  pretence  of  making  amicable  arrange- 
ments. Accordingly,  large  numbers  prepared  to  obey  the  summons, 
ignorant  of  their  enemies'  intentions,  till,  when  about  six  miles  from  the 
castle,  a  large  body  of  them  got  a  hint  of  their  danger  from  some  one  in 
the  secret,  on  which  they  called  a  halt  and  held  a  consultation,  when  it 
was  resolved  to  pass  on  to  the  Inn  at  Golspie,  and  there  await  the  ren- 
contre with  the  factors.  The  latter  were  much  disappointed  at  this 
derangementof  theirplans;  but  on  their  arrival  with  the  sheriff,  constables, 
&c.,  they  told  the  peojjle,  to  their  astonishment,  that  a  number  of  them 
were  to  be  apprehended,  and  sent  to  Dornoch  Jail,  on  suspicion  of  an 
attempt  to  take  Mr.  Reid's  life  !  The  people,  with  one  voice,  declared 
their  innocence,  and  that  they  would  not  suffer  any  of  their  number  to  be 
imprisoned  on  such  a  pretence.  Without  further  provocation,  the  sheriff 
proceeded  to  read  the  riot  act,  a  thing  quite  new  and  unintelligible  to  the 
poor  Sutherlanders  so  long  accustomed  to  bear  their  wrongs  patiently  ; 
however,  they  immediately  dispersed  and  returned  to  their  homes  in  peace. 
The  factors,  having  now  found  the  pretext  desired,  mounted  their  horses 
and  galloped  to  the  castle  in  pretended  alarm,  sought  protection  under  the 
guns  of  their  fortress,  and  sent  an  express  to  Fort  George  for  a  military 
force  to  suppress  the  rebellion  in  Sutherlandshire !     The  21st  Regiment 


of  foot  (Irish)  was  accordingly  ordered  to  proceed  by  forced  inarches,  night 
and  day,  a  distance  of  fifty  miles,  with  artillery,  and  cart-loads  of  am- 
munition. On  their  arrival,  some  of  them  were  heard  to  declare  they 
would  now  have  revenge  on  the  Sutherlanders  for  the  carnage  of  their 
countrymen  at  Tai*a-hill  and  Ballynamuck;  but  they  were  disappointed, 
for  they  found  no  rebels  to  cope  with ;  so  that,  after  having  made  a  few 
prisoners,  who  were  all  liberated  on  a  precognition  being  taken,  they 
were  ordered  away  to  their  barracks.  The  people  meantime,  dismayed 
and  spirit-broken  at  the  array  of  power  brought  against  them,  and  seeing 
nothing  but  enemies  on  every  side,  even  in  those  from  whom  they  should 
have  had  comfort  and  succour,  quietly  submitted  to  their  fate.  The 
clergy,  too,  were  continually  preaching  submission  declaring  these 
proceedings  were  foreordained  of  God,  and  denouncing  the  vengeance 
of  Heaven  and  eternal  damnation  on  those  who  should  presume  to  make 
the  leii.st  resistance.  No  wonder  the  poor  Highlanders  quailed  under 
such  influences;  and  the  result  was,  that  large  districts  of  the  parishes 
before  mentioned  were  dispossessed  at  the  May  term,  1812. 

The  Earl  of  Selkirk  hearing  of  these  proceedings,  came  personally  into 
Sutherlandshire,  and  by  fair  promises  of  encouragement,  and  other  allure- 
ments, induced  a  number  of  the  distressed  outcast  to  enter  into  an  arrange- 
ment with  him,  to  emigrate  to  his  estates  on  the  Red  River,  North 
America.  Accordingly,  a  whole  shipf  ul  of  them  went  thither;  but  on  their 
arrival,  after  a  tedious  and  disastrous  passage,  they  found  theuiselves 
deceived  and  deserted  by  his  lordship,  and  left  to  their  fate  in  an  incle- 
ment wilderness,  without  protection  against  the  savages,  who  plundered 
them  on  their  arrival,  and,  finally  massacred  them  all,  with  the  exception 
of  a  few  who  escaped  with  their  lives,  and  travelled  across  trackless  wilds 
till  they  at  last  arrived  in  Canada. 

This  is  a  brief  recital  of  the  proceedings  up  to  1813;  and  these  were 
the  only  acts  of  riot  and  resistance  that  ever  took  place  in  Sutherlandshire. 


LETTER     IV. 

In  the  month  of  March,  1814,  a  groat  number  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
parishes  of  Farr  and  Kildonan  were  summoned  to  give  up  their  farms  at 
the  May  term  following,  and,  in  order  to  ensure  and  hasten  their  removal 
with  their  cattle,  in  a  few  days  after,  the  greatest  part  of  the  heath  i)asture 
was  set  fire  to  and  burnt,  l)y  order  of  Mr.  Sellar,  the  factor,  who  had  taken 
these  lands  for  himself.  It  is  necessary  to  e.xpluin  the  effects  of  this  i)ro- 
ceeding.  In  the  sprinjsf,  especially  when  fodder  is  scarce,  as  was  the  case 
in  the  above  year,  the  Highland  cattle  depend  almost  solely  on  the  heather. 
As  soon,  too,  as  the  grass  begins  to  sprout  about  the  roots  of  the  bushes, 
the  animals  get  a  good  bite,  and  are  thiis  kept  in  tolerable  condition.  De- 
prived of  this  resource  by  the  burning,  the  cattle  were  generally  left 
without  food,  and  this  being  the  period  of  temporary  peace,  during 
Buonaparte's  residence  in  Elba,  there  was  little  demand  for  good  cattle, 


8 

much  less  for  these  poor  starving  animals,  who  roamed  about  over  their 
burnt  pasture  till  a  great  many  of  them  were  lost,  or  sold  for  a  mere  trifle. 
The  arable  parts  of  the  land  were  cropped  by  the  outgoing  tenants,  as  is 
customary,  but  the  fences  being  mostly  destroyed  by  the  burning,  the  cattle 
of  the  incoming  tenant  was  continually  trespassing  throughout  the  summer 
and  harvest,  and  those  who  remained  to  look  after  the  crop  had  no  shelter; 
even  watching  being  disallowed,  and  the  people  were  haunted  by  the  new 
herdsmen  and  and  their  dogs  from  watching  their  own  corn !  As  the  spring 
had  been  severe,  so  the  harvest  was  wet,  cold,  and  disastrous  for  the  poor 
l)eople,  who  under  every  difficulty,  were  endeavouring  to  secure  the 
residue  of  their  crops.  The  barns,  kilns,  and  mills,  except  a  few  neces- 
sary to  the  new  tenant,  had,  as  well  as  the  houses,  been  burnt  or  otherwise 
destroyed  and  no  shelter  left,  except  on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  now 
overflowing  its  banks  from  the  continual  rains;  so  that,  after  all  their 
labour  and  privations,  the  people  lost  nearly  the  whole  of  their  crop,  as 
they  had  already  lost  their  cattle,  and  were  thus  entirely  ruined. 

But  I  must  go  back  now  to  the  May  term  and  attempt  to  give  some 
account  of  the  ejection  of  the  inhalntants ;  for  to  give  anything  like  an 
adequate  description  I  am  not  capable.  If  I  were,  the  horrors  of  it 
would  exceed  belief. 

The  houses  had  been  all  built,  not  by  the  landlord  as  in  the  low  country, 
but  by  the  tenants  or  by  their  ancestors,  and,  consequently,  were  their  pro- 
perty by  right,  if  not  by  law.  They  were  timbered  chiefly  with  bog  fir, 
which  makes  excellent  roofing  but  is  very  inflammable :  by  immemorial 
usage  this  species  of  timber  was  considered  the  property  of  the  tenant  on 
whose  lands  it  was  found.  To  the  upland  timber,  for  which  the  laird  or 
the  factor  had  to  be  asked,  the  laird  might  lay  some  claim,  but  not  so  to 
the  other  sort,  and  in  every  house  there  was  generally  a  part  of  both. 

In  former  removals  the  tenants  had  been  allowed  to  carry  away  this 
timber  to  erect  houses  in  their  new  allotments,  but  now  a  more  sunnnary 
mode  was  adopted,  by  setting  fire  to  the  houses !  The  able-bodied  m«n 
were  by  this  time  away  after  their  cattle  or  otherwise  engaged  at  a  dis- 
tance, so  that  the  immediate  sufl'erers  by  the  general  house-burning  that 
now  commenced  were  the  aged  and  infirm,  and  the  women  and  children. 
As  the  lands  were  now  in  the  hands  of  the  factor  himself,  and  were  to  be 
occupied  as  sheep-farms,  and  as  the  people  made  no  resistance,  they  ex- 
pected at  least  some  indulgence,  in  the  way  of  permission  to  occupy  their 
houses  and  other  buildings  till  they  could  gradually  remove  and  meanwhile 
look  after  their  growing  crops.  Their  consternation,  was,  therefore,  the 
greater  when,  immediately  after  the  May  term  day,  and  about  two  months 
after  they  had  received  summonses  of  removal,  a  commencement  was  made 
to  pull  down  and  set  fire  to  the  houses  over  their  heads!  The  old  ])eo[)le 
women,  and  others,  then  began  to  try  to  preserve  the  timber  which  they 
were  entitled  to  consider  as  their  own.  But  the  devastators  proceeded 
with  the  greatest  celerity,  demolishing  all  before  them,  and  when  they 
had  overthrown  the  houses  in  a  large  tract  of  country,  they  ultimately  set 
fire  to  the  wreck.      So  that  timber,  furniture,  and  every  other  article  that 


9 

could  not  be  instantly  removed,   was  consumed  by  fire,  or  otherwise 
utterly  destroyed. 

These  proceedings  were  carried  on  with  the  greatest  rapidity  as  well  as 
with  most  reckless  cruelty.  The  cries  of  the  victims,  the  confusion,  the 
despair  and  horror  painted  on  the  countenances  of  the  one  party,  and  the 
exultin^:;  ferocity  of  the  other,  beggar  all  description.  In  these  scenes 
Mr.  Sellar  was  present,  and  t^pparently,  (as  was  sworn  by  several  witnesses 
at  his  subsequent  trial,)  ordering  and  directing  the  whole.  Many  deaths 
ensued  from  alarm,  from  fatigue,  and  cold;  the  people  l)eing  instantly 
deprived  of  shelter,  and  left  to  the  mercy  of  the  elements.  Some  old  men 
took  to  the  woods  and  precipices,  wandering  about  in  a  state  approach- 
ing to,  or  of  absolute  insanity,  and  several  of  them,  in  this  situation,  lived 
only  a  few  days.  Pregnant  women  were  taken  with  premature  labour, 
and  several  children  did  not  long  survive  their  sufferings.  To  these 
scenes  I  was  an  eye-witness,  and  am  ready  to  substantiate  the  truth  of 
my  statements,  not  only  by  my  own  testimony,  but  by  that  of  many 
others  who  were  present  at  the  time. 

In  such  a  scene  of  general  devastation  it  is  almost  useless  to  particularize 
the  cases  of  individuals — the  suffering  was  great  and  universal.  I  shall, 
however,  just  notice  a  very  few  of  the  extreme  cases  which  occur  to  my 
recollection,  to  most  of  which  I  was  an  eye  witness.  John  MKay's  wife, 
Ravigill,  in  attempting  to  pull  down  her  house,  in  the  absence  of  her 
husband,  to  preserve  the  timber,  fell  through  the  roof.  She  was  in  con- 
sequence, taken  with  premature  labour,  and  in  that  state,  was  exposed  to 
the  open  air  and  the  view  of  the  by-standers.  Donald  Munro,  Garvott, 
lying  in  a  fever,  was  turned  out  of  his  house  and  exposed  to  the  elements. 
Donald  Macbeath,  an  infirm  and  bed-ridden  old  man,  had  the  house  unroof- 
ed over  him,  and  was,  in  that  state,  exposed  to  wind  and  rain  till  death  put 
a  period  to  his  sufferings.  I  was  present  at  the  pulling  down  and  burning 
of  the  house  of  William  Chisholm.  Badinloskin,  in  which  was  lying  his 
wife's  mother,  an  old  bed-ridden  Moman  of  near  100  years  of  age,  none  of 
the  family  being  present.  I  informed  the  persons  about  to  set  fire  to  the 
hou.se  of  this  circumstance,  and  prevailed  on  them  to  wait  till  Mr.  Sellar 
came.  On  his  airival  I  told  him  of  the  poor  old  woman  being  in  a  con- 
dition unfit  for  removal.  He  replied,  **  Damn  her,  the  old  witch,  she  has 
lived  too  long;  let  her  bum."  Fire  was  immediately  set  to  the  house,  and 
the  blankets  in  which  she  was  carried  were  in  flames  before  she  could  be 
got  out.  She  was  placed  in  a  little  shed,  and  it  was  with  great  difiieulty 
they  were  prevented  from  firing  it  also.  The  old  woman's  daughter 
arrived  while  the  house  was  on  fire,  and  assisted  the  neighbours  in  remov- 
ing her  mother  out  of  the  flames  and  smoke,  presenting  a  picture  of 
liorror  which  I  shall  never  forget,  but  cannot  attempt  to  describe.  She 
died  within  five  days. 

I  could  multiply  instances  to  a  great  extent,  but  must  leave  to  the 
reader  to  conceive  the  state  of  the  inhabitants  during  this  scene  of  general 
devastation,  to  which  few  parallels  occur  in  the  history  of  this  or  any  other 
civilized  country.  Many  a  life  was  lost  or  shortened,  and  many  a  strong 
constitution  ruined ; — the  comfort  and  social  happiness  of  all  destroj;ptl ; 


10 

and  their  prospects  in  life,  then  of  the  most  dismal  kind,  have,  generally 
speaking,  been  unhappily  realized. 

Mr.  Sellar  was,  in  the  year  1816,  tried  on  on  indictment  for  a  part  of 
these  proceedings,  before  the  circuit  court  of  Justiciary  at  Inverness. 


LETTER    Y. 

At  the  spring  assizes  of  Inverness,  in  1816,  Mr.  Seller  was  brought  to 
trial,  before  Lord  Pitmilly,  for  his  proceedings,  as  partly  detailed  in  my 
last  letter.  The  indictment,  charging  him  with  culpable  homicide,  fire- 
raising,  tkc,  was  prosecuted  by  his  Majesty's  advocate.  In  the  report  of 
the  trial,  published  by  Mr.  Sellar's  counsel,  it  is  said  "To  this  measure 
his  lordship  seems  to  have  been  induced,  chiefly  for  the  purpose  of  satis- 
fying the  public  mind  and  putting  an  end  to  the  clamours  of  the  country." 
If  this,  and  not  the  ends  of  justice,  was  the  intention,  it  was  completely 
successful,  for  the  gentleman  w^as  acquitted,  to  the  astonishment  of  the 
natives  and  of  all  who  understood  anything  of  the  true  state  of  the  case, 
and  the  oppressors  were  thereby  emboldened  to  proceed  in  their  subsequent 
operations  with  a  higher  hand,  and  with  perfect  impunity,  as  will  be  seen 
in  the  sequel. 

It  is  a  difficult  and  hazardous  attempt  to  inpugn  proceedings  carried  on 
by  his  Majesty's  advocate,  presided  over  by  an  honourable  judge,  and 
decided  by  a  jury  of  respectable  men;  but  I  may  mention  a  few  circum- 
stances which  might  have  a  tendency  to  disappoint  the  people.  Out  of 
forty  witnesses  examined  at  a  precognition  before  the  sheriff,  there  were 
only  eleven,  and  those  not  the  most  competent,  brought  forward  for  the 
crown;  and  the  rest,  some  of  whom  might  have  supported  material  parts 
of  the  indictment — as,  for  instance,  in  the  case  of  Donald  Monro — were 
nevercalledatall.  Besides,  the  witnesses  for  the  prosecution, being  sim])le, 
illiterate  persons,  gave  their  testimony  in  Gaelic,  which  was  interpreted  to 
the  court;  and,  it  is  well-known,  much  depends  upon  the  translator, 
whether  evidence  so  taken,  retains  its  weight  and  strengtli  or  not.  The 
jury,  with  very  few  exceptions,  was  composed  of  persons  just  similarly 
circumstanced  with  the  neio  tenants  in  Sutherlandshire,  and  consequently, 
might  very  naturally  have  a  leaning  to  that  side,  and  all  the  exculpatory 
witnesses  were  those  who  had  been  art  and  part,  or  otherwise  interested, 
in  the  outrageous  proceedings.  Mr.  Sellar  was  a  man  of  talent,  an  expert 
lawyer,  and  a  justice  of  the  peace,  invested  with  full  powers,  as  factor  and 
law  agent  to  a  great  absentee  proprietor,  and  strongly  supported  by  the 
clergy  and  gentry  in  the  neighbourhood:  he  was  also  the  incoming  tennnt 
to  the  lands  which  were  the  scene  of  his  proceedings — too  great  odds 
against  a  few  poor  simple  Highlanders,  who  had  only  their  wrongs  to 
plead,  whose  minds  were  comparatively  uncultivated,  and  whose  pecuniary 
means  were  small. 

The  immediate  cause  which  led  to  these  legal  proceedings  was,  that 
several  petitions  from  the  expelled  tenants  had  been  sent  to  the  noble  pro- 


11 

prietors,  representing  the  illegal  and  cruel  treatment  they  had  received  ; 
and,  in  consequence  of  the  answers  received  expressing  a  wish  that  justice 
might  be  done,  the  case  was  laid  before  the  sheriff-depute,  Mr.  Cranstoun, 
who  sent  an  express  injunction  to  Mr.  Robert  M'Kid,  sheriff-substitute 
for  the  county,  to  take  a  precognition  of  the  case,  and  if  there  appeared 
suffcient  cause,  to  take  Mr.  Seller  into  custody.  The  sheriff-substitute 
was  a  man  of  acknowledged  probity,  but  from  the  representations  he  had 
previously  received,  was  considered  unfavourable  to  the  cause  of  the 
people.  On  examining  the  witnesses,  however,  a  case  of  such  enormity 
was  made  out  as  induced  him  to  use  some  strong  expressions  contained  in 
a  letter  to  Lord  Stafford,  which  I  here  subjoin,  and  which,  with  some  false 
allegations,  were  urged  against  him  on  the  trial,  so  that,  under  the  direc- 
tion of  the  court,  the  advocate-depute  passed  from  his  evidence  on  the 
grounds  of  malice  and  unduly  expressed  opinion,  and  thus  Mr.  M'Kid's 
important  testimony  was  lost.  On  the  whole,  this  case  furnishes  an  in- 
stance of  successful  chicanery,  undue  influence,  and  the  "  glorious  uncer- 
tainty of  Law.'* 

TO    LORD    STAFFORD. 

KiRKTOWN  P.  GOLSPIE,  30th  May;  1815. 

My  Lord, — I  conceive  it  a  duty  I  owe  to  your  Lordship,  to  address  you  upon  the 
present  occasion,  and  a  more  distx-essiug  task  I  have  seldom  had  to  perform. 

Your  Lordbhip  knows,  that  in  summer  last,  an  humble  petition,  subscribed  by  a 
number  of  tenants  on  Mr.  Sellar's  sheep  farm  in  Farr  and  Kildonan,  was  presented 
to  Lady  J>tafl[ord,  complaining  of  various  acts  of  injury,  cruelty  and  oppression, 
alledged  to  have  been  committed  upon  their  persons  and  property,  by  Mr.  Sellar, 
in  the  spring  and  summer  of  that  year. 

To  this  complaint,  her  Ladyship,  upon  the  22nd  of  July  last,  was  graciously 
pleased  to  return  an  answer  in  writing.  In  it,  her  Ladysliip,  with  her  usual  can- 
dour and  justice,  m  ith  much  propriety  observes,  "  That  if  any  person  on  the  estate 
Bhall  receive  any  illegal  treatment,  she  will  never  consider  it  as  hostile  to  her  if 
they  have  recourfcc  to  legal  redress,  as  a  most  secure  way  to  receive  the  justice 
which  phe  always  desires  they  should  have  on  every  occasion."  Her  Ladyship  also 
intimates,  "That  she  had  communicated  the  complaint  to  Mr.  Sellar,  that  he  may 
make  proper  inquiry  and  answer  to  her." 

It  would  appear,  however,  that  Mr.  Sellar  still  refused,  or  delayed,  to  afford  that 
redress  to  the  removed  tenants  to  which  they  conceived  themselves  entitled,  w  hich 
emboldened  thtm  to  approach  Earl  Gower  with  a  complaint,  similar  to  the  one  they 
had  presented  to  Lady  StatiVird. 

To  this  complaint  his  Lordship  graciously  condescended,  under  date  8th  Feb- 
ruary last,  to  return  such  an  answer  as  might  have  been  expected  from  his  Lord- 
ship. His  Lordship  i^ayB  that  he  has  communicated  the  contents  to  your  Lordship 
ann  I  ndy  Stafford,  who  as  his  Lordship  nobly  expresses  himself,  "  Are  desirous, 
tli.i      '  iits  should  know,  that  it  is  always  their  wish  that  justice  should  be 

ill  iniinisttred."    His  Lordhhij)  then  adds,  that  he  has  sent  the  petition, 

\\ .  hs  to  Mr.  Young,  that  proper  steps  should   Ve  taken  for  laying  the 

1.1  1 »!  the  sherilfdepute  ;   and   that  the  petitioners  wouhl  therefore  be 

a.v.v:  .    Air.  Young,  if  they  desired  it,  in  having  the  precognition  taken  before 

the  »hcriti-tiepute,  according  to  their  petition. 

Soon  after  receipt  of  Earl  Gower's  letter,  it  would  appear  that  a  copv  of  the  peti- 
tion, with  his  Lordship's  anbwer,  had  been  transmitted  to  the  sherifl-depute  by  the 
tenants.  Mr.  CnmstouD,  in  answer,  upon  3()th  March  last,  says,  "that  if  the 
tenants  mean  to  take  a  precognition  immediately,  it  will  proceed  before  the  shcrifl- 
Bubstitutr,  as  my  engagement  will  not  permit  me  to  be  in  iSutherland  until  the 
month  of  July." 


12 

In  consequence  of  these  proceedings,  on  an  express  injunction  from  his  Majesty's 
advocate-depute,  and  a  similar  one  from  the  sheriff-depute,  I  was  compelled  to 
enter  upon  an  investigation  of  the  complaints. 

With  this  view  I  was  induced  to  go  into  Strathnaver,  where,  at  considerable  per- 
sonal inconvenience  and  expense,  and  with  much  patient  perseverance,  I  examined 
about  forty  evidences  upon  the  allegations  stated  in  the  tenants'  petition;  and  it  is 
with  the  deepest  regret  I  have  to  inform  your  Lordship,  that  a  more  numerous  cata- 
logue of  crimes,  perpetrated  by  an  individual,  has  seldom  disgraced  any  country, 
or  sullied  the  pages  of  a  precognition  in  Scotland. 

This  being  the  case,  the  laws  of  the  country  imperiously  call  upon  me  to  order 
Mr.  Sellar  to  be  arrested  and  incarcerated,  in  order  for  trial,  and  before  this 
reaches  your  Lordship  this  preparatory  legal  step  must  be  put  in  execution. 

No  person  can  more  sincerely  regret  the  cause,  nor  more  feelingly  lament  the 
effect,  than  I  do  ;  but  your  Lordship  knows  well,  and  as  Earl  Gower  very  properly 
observed,  "  Justice  should  be  impartially  administered." 

I  have,  in  confidence,  stated  verbally  to  Mr.  Young  my  fears  upon  this  distress- 
ing subject,  and  I  now  take  the  liberty  of  stating  my  sentiments  also  to  your  Lord- 
ship, in  confidence. 

The  crimes  of  which  Mr.  Sellar  stands  accused  are, — 

1.  Wilful  fire-raising  ;  by  having  set  on  fire,  and  reduced  to  ashes,  a  poor  man's 
whole  premises,  including  dwelling-house,  barn,  kiln,  and  sheep-cot,  attended  with 
most  aggravated  circumstances  of  cruelty,  if  not  murder. 

2.  Throwing  down  and  demolishing  a  mill,  also  a  capital  crime. 

3.  Setting  fire  to  and  burning  the  tenants'  heath  pasture,  before  the  legal  term 
of  removal. 

4.  Throwing  down  and  demolishing  houses,  whereby  the  lives  of  sundry  aged 
and  bed-ridden  persons  were  endangered,  if  nob  actually  lost. 

5.  Throwing  down  and  demolishing  barns,  kilns,  sheep  cots,  &c.,  to  the  great 
hurt  and  prejudice  of  the  ow^ners. 

6.  Innumerable  other  charges  of  lesser  importance  swell  the  list. 

I  subjoin  a  copy  of  Mr.  Craustoun's  letter  to  me  upon  this  subject,  for  your  Lord- 
ship's information,  and  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 

(Signed)  ROBT.  M'KID. 

Here,  then,  I  must  part  with  Messrs.  Young  and  Sellar  as  agents  for 
the  noble  family  of  Sutherland,  for  about  this  time  they  ceased  to  act  as 
such.  I  shall  in  my  next,  proceed  to  describe  the  davasting  removals 
of  1819  and  '20 — those  wliich  happened  in  the  intermediate  years  be- 
tween these  and  the  year  1815,  being  similar  in  character  to  the  removals 
I  have  already  described,  Mr.  Sellar  shall  hereafter  only  figure  in  my 
narrative  as  a  leviathan  tenant,  wdio  individually  supplanted  scores  of  the 
worthy  small  farmers  of  the  parish  of  Farr. 


LETTER    YI. 

Sir, — The  integrity  manifested  by  the  sheriflfs,  Cranstoun  and  M'Kid, 
led  to  their  dismissal  from  office,  immediately  after  the  trial.  This  dis- 
missal operated  as  a  sentance  of  banishment  and  ruin  to  Mr.  M'Kid — his 
business  in  Sutherlandshire  was  at  an  end ;  he  retired  to  Caithness  with  a 
large  family,  and  commenced  business  as  a  writer,  where  every  malignant 
influence  followed  him  from  the  ruling  powers  in  the  former  county.  It 
is  to  be  hoped  that  this  upright  gentleman  has  since  surmounted  his  dif- 


13 

ficulties  ;  he  must  at  all  events  have  enjoyed  a  high  reward  in  the  testi- 
mony of  a  good  conscience. 

I  have  hitlierto  given  the  noble  proprietors  the  title  they  bore  at  the 
time  of  the  occurrences  mentioned,  but  in  order  to  avoid  ambiguity,  it 
may  be  necessary  to  give  a  brief  historical  sketch  of  the  family.  The 
late  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  premier  peeress  of  Scotland,  in  her  own  right, 
succeeded  to  the  estates  of  her  father,  "William,  21st  Earl  of  Sutherland, 
with  the  title  cf  Countess,  in  the  year  1766,  being  then  only  one  year  old. 
In  1785  she  married  the  Marquis  of  Stafford  and  took  his  title  in  addition. 

In  the  year  1833,  the  Marquis  was  created  a  Duke,  and  his  lady  was 
subsequently  styled  Duchess-Countess  of  Sutherland.  She  wns  a  lady  of 
superior  mind  and  attainments,  but  her  great  and  good  qualities  were  lost 
to  her  Highland  tenantry,  from  her  being  non-resident,  and  having  adopt- 
ed the  plan  of  removing  the  natives,  and  letting  the  land  to  strangers. 
Their  eldest  surviving  son,  Lord  Leveson  Gower,  also  a  prominent  person, 
succeeded  to  the  titles  and  estates  of  both  parents  on  their  decease,  and  is 
now  the  Duke  of  Sutherland. 

The  family  mansion,  Dunrobin  Castle,  is  situated  on  the  southern 
border  of  the  county,  and  in  the  rare  case  of  any  of  the  noble  family 
coming  to  the  Highlands  during  the  period  of  the  removals,  they  only 
came  to  the  castle  and  stopt  there,  where  the  old  tenants  were  strictly 
denied  access,  while  the  new  occupiers  had  free  personal  communication 
with  the  proprietoi-s.  When  any  memorial  or  petition  from  the  former 
could  be  got  introduced,  there  was  no  attention  paid  to  them  if  not  signed 
by  a  minister;  and  this  was  next  to  impossible,  as  the  clergy,  with  one 
honourable  excei)tion,  had  taken  the  other  side.  In  every  case  it  appeared 
that  the  factore  and  ministers  were  consulted,  and  the  decision  given  ac- 
cording to  their  suggestions  and  advice. 

On  the  resignation  or  dismis.sal  of  Messrs.  Young  and  Sellar,  Mr.  Loch, 
now  M.  P.  for  the  Northern  Burghs,  came  into  full  power  as  chief,  and  a 
Mr.  Suther  as  under  factor.  Mr.  Loch  is  a  Scotsman,  but  not  a  High- 
lander. He  had  previously  been  chief  agent  on  the  English  estates,  and 
general  adviser  to  the  proceedings  relative  to  the  Sutherland  tenantry,  and 
cognizant  of  all  the  severities  towards  them.  This  gentleman  has  written 
a  work  entitled,  **  An  account  of  the  Improvements  on  the  estates  of  the 
Manpiis  of  Stafford,  in  the  counties  of  Stafford  and  Salop,  and  on  the 
estate  of  Sutherland,"  in  which  he  has  attempted  to  justify  or  i)alliate  the 
proceedings  in  which  he  bore  a  prominent  part.  His  book  is,  there- 
fore, scarce  ever  to  be  relied  on  for  a  single  fact,  when  the  main  ol)ject 
interfered  ;  he  vilifies  the  Highlandei-H,  and  misrei)resents  every  thing  to 
answer  his  puri)08e.  He  has  been  fully  answered,  his  arguments  refuted, 
and  his  sophistries  exposed  by  Major-General  Stewart,  in  his  "Sketches 
of  the  Character  and  Manners  of  the  Highlanders  of  Scotland,"  to  which 
excellent  work  I  beg  to  call  the  attention  of  every  friend  to  truth  and 
justice,  and  especially  those  who  take  an  interest  in  the  fate  of  the  expa- 
triated tenantry.  The  Genentl  has  completely  vindicated  the  character  of 
the  Highland  tenantry,  and  shown  the  impolicy,  as  well  as  cruelty,  of  the 
means  used  for  their  ejection.    The  removal  of  Messrs.  Young  and  Sellar, 


u 

particularly  the  latter,  from  the  power  they  had  exercised  so  despotically, 
was  hailed  with  the  greatest  joy  by  the  people,  to  whom  their  very  names 
were  a  terror.  Their  appearance  in  any  neif^hbourhood  had  been  such  a 
cause  of  alarm,  as  to  make  women  fall  into  tits,  and  in  one  instance  caused 
a  woman  to  lose  her  reason,  which,  as  far  as  I  know,  she  has  not  yet 
recovered  ;  whenever  she  saw  a  stranger  she  cried  out,  with  a  terrific  tone 
and  manner.  Oh!  sin  Stllar /—'' Oh  I  there's  Sellar!" 

Bitter,  however,  was  the  people's  disappointment  when  they  found  the 
way  in  which  the  new  factors  began  to  exercise  their  powers.  The  mea- 
sures of  their  predecessors  were  continued  and  aggravated,  though,  on 
account  of  unexpired  leases,  the  removals  were  but  partial  till  the  years 
1819  and  1820.  However,  I  must  not  pass  over  the  expulsion  and  suffer- 
ings of  forty  families  who  were  removed  by  Mr.  Sellar,  almost  imme- 
diately after  his  trial.  This  person,  not  finding  it  convenient  to  occupy 
the  whole  of  the  6,000  or  7,000  acres,  which  he  had  obtained  possession 
of,  and  partially  cleared  in  1814,  had  agreed  to  let  these  forty  families 
remain  as  tenants-at-will ;  but  he  now  proceeded  to  remove  them  in  the 
same  unfeeling  manner  as  he  had  ejected  the  others,  only  he  contented 
himself  with  utterly  demolishing  their  houses,  barns,  &c.,  but  did  not,  as 
before,  set  fire  to  them  till  the  inmates  removed  ;  they  leaving  their 
crops  in  the  ground  as  before  described.  This  year  (1 816)  will  be  remem- 
bered for  its  severity  by  many  in  Scotland.  The  winter  commenced  by 
the  snow  falling  in  large  quantities  in  the  month  of  October,  and  continued 
with  increased  rigour,  so  that  the  difficulty — almost  impossibility — of  the 
people,  without  barns  or  shelter  of  any  kind,  securing  their  crops,  maybe 
easily  conceived.  I  have  seen  scores  of  the  poor  outcasts  employed  for 
weeks  together,  with  the  snow  from  two  to  four  feet  deep,  watching  the 
corn  from  being  devoured  by  the  now  hungry  sheep  of  the  incoming 
tenants  ;  carrying  oji  their  backs — horses  being  unavailable  in  such  a  case, 
across  the  country,  without  roads,  on  an  average  of  twenty  miles,  to  their 
new  allotments  on  the  sea  coast,  any  portion  of  their  grain  and  potatoes 
they  could  secure  under  such  dreadfid  circumstances.  During  labour  and 
sufferings,  which  none  but  Highlanders  could  sustain,  they  had  to  subsist 
entirely  on  potatoes  dug  out  of  the  snow ;  cooking  them  as  they  could,  in 
the  open  air,  among  the  ruins  of  their  once  comfortable  dwellings !  While 
alternate  frosts  and  thaws,  snow-storms  and  rain  were  succeeding  each 
other  in  all  the  severity  of  mid-winter,  the  people  might  be  seen  carrying 
on  their  labours,  and  bearing  their  burdens  of  damp  produce,  under  which 
many,  especially  the  females,  were  occasionally  sinking  in  a  fainting  state, 
till  assisted  by  others,  little  better  off  than  themselves.  In  some  very  rare 
instances  only,  a  little  humane  assistance  was  aftbrded  by  the  shepherds: 
in  general  their  tender  mercies,  like  those  of  their  unfeeling  masters, 
were  only  cruelty. 

The  filling  up  of  this  feeble  outline  must  be  left  to  the  imagination  of 
the  reader,  but  I  may  mention  that  attendant  on  all  previous  and  subse- 
quent removals,  and  especially  this  one,  many  severe  diseases  made  their 
appearance;  such  as  had  been  hitherto  almost  unknown  among  the  High- 
land population;  viz:  typus  fever,  consumption,  and  pulmonary  complaints 


If) 

in  all  their  varieties,  hloody  flux,  bowel  complaints,  eruptions,  rheuma- 
tisms, piles,  and  maladies  peculiar  to  females.  So  that  the  new  and  un- 
comfortable dwellings  of  this  lately  robust  and  healthy  peasantry,  "their 
country's  pride,"  were  now  become  family  hosi)itals  and  lazar-houses  of 
the  sick  and  the  dying  !  Famine  and  utter  destitution  inevitably  fol- 
lowed, till  thft  misery  of  my  once  happy  countrymen  reached  an  alarming 
height,  and  began  to  attract  attention  as  an  almost  national  calamity. 

Even  Mr.  Loch  in  his  before-mentioned  work,  has  been  constrained  to 
admit  the  extreme  distress  of  the  people.  He  says,  (page  76,)  "  Their 
wretchedness  was  so  great,  that  after  pawning  everything  they  ])ossessed, 
to  the  fishermen  on  the  coast,  such  as  had  no  cattle  were  reduced  to  come 
down  from  the  hills  in  hundreds,  for  the  purpose  of  gathering  cockles  on 
the  shoie.  Those  who  lived  in  the  more  remote  situations  of  the  country 
were  obliged  to  subsist  upon  broth  made  of  nettles,  thickened  with  a  little 
oatmeal.  Those  who  had  cattle  had  recourse  to  the  still  more  wretched  ex- 
pedient of  bleeding  them,  and  mixing  the  blood  with  oatmeal,  which  they 
afterwards  cut  into  slices  and  fried.  Those  who  had  a  little  money,  came 
down  and  slept  all  night  u])on  the  beach,  in  order  to  watch  the  boats  re- 
turning from  the  fishing,  that  they  might  be  in  time  to  obtain  a  part  of 
what  had  been  caught."  This  gentleman,  however,  omits  to  mention, 
the  share  he  had  in  bringing  things  to  such  a  pass,  and  also  that,  at  the 
same  time,  he  had  armed  constables  stationed  at  Littleferry,  the  only 
place  where  shell-fish  were  to  be  found,  to  prevent  the  people  from 
gathering  them.  In  his  next  page  he  gives  an  exaggerated  account  of 
the  relief  afforded  by  the  proprietors.  I  shall  not  copy  his  mis-statments, 
but  proceed  to  say  what  that  relief,  so  ostentatiously  put  forth,  really  con- 
sisted of.  As  to  his  assertion  that  "  £3,000  had  been  given  by  way  of 
loan  to  those  who  had  cattle,"  I  look  ui)on  it  to  be  a  fabrication,  or,  if  the 
money  really  was  sent  by  the  noble  proprietors,  it  must  have  been  retained 
by  those  intrusted  with  its  distribution ;  for,  to  my  knowledge,  it  never 
came  fo  the  hands  of  any  of  the  small  tenants.  There  was,  indeed,  a  con- 
siderable quantity  of  meal  sent,  though  far  from  enough  to  afford  effectual 
relief,  but  this  meal  represented  to  be  given  in  cliarity,  was  charged  at 
the  following  Martinmas  term,  at  the  rate  of  50s.  per  boll.  Payment  was 
rigorously  exacted,  and  those  who  had  cattle  were  obliged  to  give  them  up 
for  that  purpose,  but  this  latter  part  of  the  story  was  never  sent  to  the 
new8pai>er8,  and  Mr.  Loch  has  a.\so  forgottni  to  mention  it !  There  was  a 
considerable  quantity  of  medicine  given  to  the  ministers  for  distribution 
for  which  no  charge  was  nmde,  and  this  was  th(5  whole  amount  of  relief 
afforded. 


LETTER    VII. 

The  honourahle  acquittal  of  Mr.  Sellar,  and  the  compliments  he  receiv- 
ed in  consequence  from  the  presiding  judge,  with  the  dismissal  of  the 
sheriffs  had  the  desired  effect  upon  the  minds  of  the  poor  Sutherlanders, 
and  those  who  took  an  interest  in  their  case.     Every  voice  in  their  behalf 


IG 

was  silenced  and  every  pen  laid  dovr — in  short,  every  cliannel  for  redress 
or  protection  from  future  violence  Wi^d  closed;  the  people  were  prostrated 
under  the  feet  of  their  oppressors,  who  well  knew  how  to  take  advantage 
of  their  position.  It  appeared  that,  for  a  considerable  interval,  there 
were  no  regular  sheriffs  in  the  county,  and  that  the  authority  usually 
exercised  by  them  was  vested  in  Captain  Kenneth  jVI'Kay,  a  native  of 
the  county,  and  now  one  of  the  extensive  sheep  farmers.  It  was  l)y  virtue 
of  warrants  granted  by  this  gentleman  that  the  proceedings  I  am  about 
to  describe  took  place,  and,  if  the  sheriff-officers  constables,  and  assistants, 
exc(;edftd  their  authority,  they  did  so  under  his  immediate  eye  and  cogni- 
zance, as  he  was  all  the  time  residing  in  his  house,  situated  so  that  he 
must  have  witnessed  a  great  part  of  the  scene  from  his  own  front  window. 
Therefore,  if  he  did  not  immediately  authorize  the  atrocities  to  the  extent 
committed  (which  I  will  not  assert),  he  at  least  used  no  means  to  restrain 
them. 

At  this  period  a  great  majority  of  the  inhabitants  were  tenants-at-will 
and  therefore  liable  to  ejectment  on  getting  regular  notice ;  there  were, 
however,  a  few  who  had  still  existing  tacks  (although  some  had  been 
wheedled  or  frightened  into  surrendering  them),  and  these  were,  of  course^ 
unmolested  till  the  expiration  of  their  tacks ;  they  were  then  turned  out 
like  the  rest ;  but  the  great  body  of  the  tenantry  were  in  the  former  con- 
dition. Meantime,  the  factors,  taken  advantage  of  the  broken  sj^irit  and 
prostrate  state  of  the  people — trembling  at  their  w^ords  or  even  looks — 
betook  themselves  to  a  new  scheme  to  facilitate  their  intended  proceedings, 
and  this  was  to  induce  every  householder  to  sign  a  bond  or  paper  contain- 
ing a  promise  of  removal:  and  alternate  threats  and  promises  were  used  to 
induce  them  to  do  so.  The  promises  were  never  realised,  but,  notwith- 
standing the  people's  compliance,  the  threats  were  put  in  execution.  In 
about  a  month  after  the  factors  had  obtained  this  promise  of  removal,  and 
thirteen  days  before  the  May  term,  the  work  of  devastation  was  begun : 
they  commenced  by  setting  fire  to  the  houses  of  the  small  tenants  in  ex- 
tensive districts — part  of  the  parishes  of  Farr,  Rogart,  Golspie,  and  the 
whole  parish  of  Kildonan.  I  was  an  eye-witness  of  the  scene.  This 
calamity  came  on  the  people  quite  unexpectedly.  Strong  parties,  for 
each  district,  furnished  with  faggots  and  other  combustibles,  rushed  on 
the  dwellings  of  this  devoted  people,  and  immediately  commenced  setting 
fire  to  them,  proceeding  in  their  work  with  the  greatest  rapidity  till  about 
three  hundred  houses  were  in  flames !  The  consternation  and  confusion 
were  extreme ;  little  or  no  time  was  given  for  removal  of  persons  or 
property — the  people  striving;  to  remove  the  sick  and  the  helpless  before 
the  fire  should  reach  them — next,  struggling  to  save  the  most  valuable  of 
their  effects.  The  cries  of  the  women  and  children — the  roaring  of  the 
affrighted  cattle  hunted  at  the  same  time  by  the  yelling  dogs  of  the 
shepherds  amid  the  smoke  and  tire — altogether  presented  a  scene  that 
completely  baffles  description:  it  required  to  be  seen  to  be  believed.  A 
dense  cloud  of  smoke  enveloped  the  whole  country  by  day,  and  even  ex- 
tended far  on  the  sea ;  at  night  an  awfully  grand,  but  terrific  scene  pre- 
sented itself — all  the  houses  in  an  extensive  district  in  flames  at  once!    I 


myself  ascended  a  height  about  eleven  f^'jlock  in  the  evening,  and  counted 
two  hundred  and  fifty  blazing  houses,  niany  of  the  owners  of  which  were 
my  relations,  and  all  of  whom  I  personally  knew;  but  whose  present  con- 
dition, whether  in  or  out  of  the  flames,  I  could  not  tell.  The  conflapfi'a- 
tion  lasted  six  days,  till  the  whole  of  the  dwellings  were  reduced  to  ashes 
or  smoking  ruins.  During  one  of  these  days  a  boat  lost  her  way  in  the 
dense  smoke  as  she  approached  the  shore ;  but  at  night  she  was  enabled 
to  reach  a  landing  place  by  the  light  of  the  flames ! 

It  would  be  an  endless  task  to  give  a  detail  of  the  suflferings  of  families 
and  individuals  during  this  calamitous  period;  or  to  describe  its  dreadful 
consequences  on  the  health  and  lives  of  the  victims.  I  will,  however,  at- 
tempt a  very  few  cases.  While  the  burning  was  going  on,  a  small  sloop 
arrived,  laden  with  quick  lime,  and  when  discharging  her  cargo,  the  skip- 
per agreed  to  take  as  many  of  the  people  to  Caithness  as  he  could  carry, 
on  his  return.  Accordingly,  about  twenty  families  went  on  board,  filling 
deck,  hold,  and  every  part  of  the  vessel.  There  were  childhood  and  age, 
male  and  female,  sick  and  well,  with  a  small  portion  of  their  effects,  saved 
from  the  flames,  all  huddled  together  in  heaps.  Many  of  these  persons 
had  never  been  on  sea  before,  and  when  they  began  to  sicken  a  scene  in- 
describable ensued.  To  add  to  their  miseries,  a  storm  and  contrary  winds 
prevailed,  so  that  instead  of  a  day  or  two,  the  usual  time  of  passage,  it  was 
nine  dw/s  before  they  reached  Caithness.  All  this  time,  the  poor  crea- 
tures, almost  without  necessaries,  most  of  them  dying  with  sickness,  were 
either  wallowing  among  the  lime)  and  various  excrements  in  the  hold,  or 
lying  on  the  deck,  exposed  to  the  raging  elements !  This  voyage  soon 
proved  fatal  to  many,  and  some  of  the  survivors  feel  its  effects  to  this  day. 
During  this  time,  also,  typus  fever  was  raging  in  the  country,  and  many 
in  a  critical  state  had  to  fly,  or  were  carried  by  their  friends  out  of  the 
burning  houses.  Among  the  rest,  a  young  man,  Donald  M'Kay  of 
Grumbmorr,  was  ordered  out  of  his  parents'  house;  he  obeyed,  in  a  state 
of  delirium,  and  (nearly  naked)  ran  into  some  bushes  adjoining,  where  he 
lay  for  a  considerable  time  deprived  of  reason;  the  house  was  immediately 
in  flames,  and  his  effects  burned.  Robert  M'Kay,  whose  whole  family 
were  in  the  fever,  or  otherwise  ailing,  had  to  carry  his  two  daughters  on 
his  back,  a  distance  of  al)out  twenty-five  miles.  He  accomplished  this  by 
first  carrying  one,  and  laying  her  down  in  the  open  air,  and  returning, 
did  the  same  with  the  other,  till  he  reached  the  sea-shore,  and  then  went 
with  them  on  board  the  lime  vessel  before  mentioned.  An  old  man  of  the 
same  name,  betook  himself  to  a  deserted  mill,  and  lay  there  unable  to 
move;  and  to  the  best  of  my  recollection,  he  died  there.  He  had  no  sus- 
tenance but  what  he  obtained  by  licking  the  dust  and  refuse  of  the  meal 
strewed  about,  and  was  defended  from  the  rats  and  other  vermin,  by  his 
faithful  colbf,  his  companion  and  protector.  A  number  of  the  sick,  who 
could  not  be  carried  away  instantly,  on  account  of  their  dangerous  situa- 
tion, were  collected  by  their  friends  and  placed  in  an  obscure,  uncomfor- 
table hut,  and  there,  for  a  time,  left  to  their  fate.  The  cries  of  these 
victims  were  heart-rending — exclaiming  in  their  anguish,  "Are  you 
going  to  leave  us  to  perish    in   tlu;   flames  1"      However,   tlw  dcstrovrrs 


18 

passed  near  the  hut,  apparently  without  noticing  it,  and  consequently  they 
remained  unmolested  till  they  could  be  conveyed  to  the  shore,  and  put  on 
board  the  before-mentioned  sloop.  George  Munro,  miller  at  Farr,  residing 
within  400  yards  of  the  minister's  house,  had  his  whole  family,  consisting 
of  six  or  seven  persons,  lying  in  a  fever ;  and  being  ordered  instantly  to 
remove,  was  enabled,  with  the  assistance  of  his  neighbours  to  carry  them 
to  a  damp  kiln,  where  they  remained  till  the  fire  abated,  so  that  they  could 
be  removed.  Meantime  the  house  was  burnt.  It  may  not  be  out  of  place 
here  to  mention  generally,  that  the  clergy,  factors,  and  magistrates,  were 
cool  and  apparently  unconcerned  spectators  of  the  scenes  I  have  been  des- 
cribing, which  were  indeed  prepetrated  under  their  immediate  authority. 
The  splendid  and  comfortable  mansions  of  these  gentlemen,  were  reddened 
with  the  glare  of  their  neighbours  flaming  houses,  without  exciting  any 
compassion  for  the  sufierers;  no  spiritual,  temporal,  or  medical  aid  was 
aftbrded  them;  and  this  time  they  were  all  driven  away  ivithout  hemg 
allowed  the  benefit  of  their  outgoing  crop  1  Nothing  but  the  sword  was 
wanting  to  make  the  scene  one  of  as  great  barbarity  as  the  earth  ever 
witnessed ;  and  in  my  opinion,  this  would,  in  a  majority  of  cases,  have 
been  mercy,  by  saving  them  from  what  they  were  afterwards  doomed  to 
endure.  The  clergy,  indeed,  in  their  sermons,  maintained  that  the  whole 
was  a  merciful  interposition  of  providence  to  bring  them  to  repentance, 
rather  than  to  send  them  all  to  hell,  as  they  so  richly  deserved !  And 
here  I  beg  leave  to  ask  those  Rev.  gentlemen,  or  the  survivors  of  them, 
and  especially  my  late  minister,  Mr.  M'Kenzie  of  Farr,  if  it  be  true,  as 
was  generally  reported,  that  during  these  horrors  I  have  been  feebly 
endeavouring  to  describe — there  was  a  letter  sent  from  the  proprietors, 
addressed  to  him,  or  to  the  general  body,  requesting  to  know  if  the 
removed  tenants  were  well  provided  for,  and  comfortable,  or  words  to  that 
effect,  and  that  the  answer  returned  was,  that  the  people  were  quite  com- 
fortable in  their  new  allotments,  and  that  the  change  was  greatly  for  their 
benefit.  This  is  the  report  that  was  circulated  and  believed;  and  the 
subsequent  conduct  of  the  clergy  affords  too  much  reason  for  giving  it 
credence  as  I  shall  soon  have  occasion  to  show. 


LETTER    VIII. 

The  depopulation  I  have  been  treating  of,  with  its  attendant  horrors 
and  miseries,  as  well  as  its  impolicy,  is  so  justly  reasoned  upon  by  General 
Stewart,  in  the  work  formerly  alluded  to,  that  I  beg  to  transcribe  a  para- 
graph or  two.  At  page  168  he  says: — "The  system  of  overlooking  the 
original  occupiers,  and  of  giving  every  support  to  strangers,  has  been 
much  practiced  in  the  highland  counties;  and  on  one  great  estate  (the 
Sutherland)  the  support  which  was  given  to  farmers  of  capital,  as  well 
in  the  amount  of  sums  expended  on  improvements,  as  in  the  liberal 
abatement  of  rents,  is,  I  believe,  unparalleled  in  the  United  Kingdom, 
and  affords  additional  matter  of  regret,  that  the  delusions  practised  on  a 


19 

generous  and  public-spirited  landholder,  have  been  so  perseveringly  and 
successfully  applied,  that  it  would  appear  as  if  all  feeling  of  former  kind- 
ness towards  the  native  tenantry  had  ceased  to  exist.    To  them  any  uncul- 
tivated spot  of  moorland,  however  small,  was  considered  sufficient  for  the 
support  of  a  family;  while  the  most  lavish  encouragement  has  been  given 
to  the  new  tenants,  on  whom,  and  with  the  erection  of  buildings,  the 
improvement  of  lands,  roads,   bridges,   ifcc.  upwards  of   £210,000  has 
been  expended  since  the  year  1808.     With  this  proof  of  unprecedented 
liberality,  it  cannot  be  sufficiently  lamented,  that  an  estimate  of  the 
character  of  these  poor  people  was  taken  from  the  misrepresentations  of 
interested  pei-sons,  instead  of  judging  from  the  conduct  of  the  same  men 
when  brought  into  the  world,  where  they  obtained  a  name  and  character 
which  have  secured  the  esteem  and  approbation  of  men  high  in  honour 
and  rank,  and,  from  their  talents  and  experience,  perfectly  capable  of 
judging  with  correctness.     With  such  proofs  of  capability,  and  with  such 
materials  for  carrying  on  the  improvements,  and  maintaining  the  perma- 
nent prosperity  of  the  county,  when  occupied  by  a  hardy,  abstemious 
race,  easily  led  on  to  a  full  exertion  of  their  faculties  by  a  jjroper  manage- 
ment, theie  cannot  be  a  question  but  that  if,  instead  of  placing  them,  as 
has  been  done,  in  situations  bearing  too  near  a  resemblance  to  the  potato- 
gardens  of  Ireland,  they  had  been  permitted  to  remain  as  cultivators  of 
the  soil,  receiving  a  moderate  share  of  the  vast  sums  lavished  on  their 
richer  successors,  such  a  humane  and  considerate  regard  to  the  prosperity 
of  a  whole  people,  would  undoubtedly  have  answered  every  good  purpose." 
In  reference  to  the  new  allotments,  he  says;  "when  the  valleys  and  higher 
grounds  were  let  to  the  shepherds,  the  whole  population  was  driven  to  the 
sea  shore,  where  they  were  crowded  on  small  lots  of  land,  to  earn  their 
subsistence  by  labour  and  by  sea  fishing,  the  latter  so  little  congenial  to 
their  former  habits."     He  goes  on  to  remark,  in  a  note,  that  these  one  or 
two  acre  lots f  are  represented  as  an   wipioved  system.     "In   a  country 
without  regular  employment  and  without  manufactures,  a  family  is  to  be 
supported  on  one  or  two  acres  ! !"    The  consequence  was,  and  continues 
to  be,  that,  **  over  the  whole  of  this  district,  where  the  sea  shore  is  acces- 
sible, the  coast  is  thickly  studded  with  wretched  cottages,  crowded  with 
starving  inhabitants."     Strangers  "  with  capital"  usurp  the  land  and  dis- 
possess the  swain.     "  Ancient  respectable  tenants,  who  passed  the  greater 
part  of  life  in  the  enjoyment  of  abundance,  and  in  the  exercises  of  hospi- 
tality and  charity,  possessing  stocks  of  ten,  twenty,  and  thii-ty  breeding 
cows,  with  the  usual  proportion  of  other  stock,  are  now  pining  on  one  or 
two  acres  of  bad  land,  with  one  or  two  starved  cows  ;  and  for  this  accom- 
modation, a  calculation  is  made,  that  they  must  support  their  families  and 
pay  the  rent  of  their  lots,  not  from  the  produce  but  from  the  sea.     When 
the  heiring  fishery  succeeds  they  generally  satisfy  the  landlords,  whatever 
privations  they  may  suffer;  but  when  the  fishing  fails,  they  fall  in  arrears 
and  are  sequestrated,  and  their  stock  sold  to  pay  the  rents,  their  loU  given 
to  others,  and  they  and  their  families  turned  adrift  on  the  world.    There 
are  still  a  few  small  tenants  on  the  old  system  ;  but  they  are  fast  falling 
into  decay,  and  sinking  into  the  class  j  ust  descrilwd. "    Again,  "  we  cannot 


sufficiently  a<lmire  their  meek  and  patient  spirit,  supported  by  the  powerful 
influence  of  moral  and  religions  principle."  I  need  not  go  farther,  but 
again  beg  the  reader's  attention  to  this  most  valuable  work,  especially  the 
article  "Change  of  Tenancy,"  as  illustrative  of  the  condition  and  exponent 
of  the  character  and  feelings  of  my  poor  countrymen,  as  well  as  corrobora- 
tive of  the  facts  to  which  I  am  endeavouring  to  call  public  attention,  as 
causes  of  the  distress  and  destitution  still  prevailing  in  Sutherlandshire. 
By  the  means  described,  large  tracts  of  country  were  depopulated,  and 
converted  into  solitary  wastes.  The  whole  inhabitants  of  Kildonan  parish 
(with  the  exception  of  three  families),  amounting  to  near  2,000  souls, 
were  utterly  rooted  and  burned  out.  Many,  especially  the  young  and 
robust,  left  the  country ;  but  the  aged,  the  females  and  children,  were  obli- 
ged to  stay  and  except  the  wretched  allotments  allowed  them  on  the  sea 
shore,  and  endeavour  to  learn  fishing,  for  which  all  their  former  habits 
rendered  them  unfit;  hence  their  time  was  spent  in  unproductive  toil  and 
misery,  and  many  lives  were  lost.  Mr.  Ss^ge,  of  evergreen  memory,  was 
the  parish  minister — 

"  Among  the  faithless,  faithful  only  he  !  " 

This  gentleman  had  dissented  from  his  brethren,  and,  to  the  best  of  his 
power,  opposed  their  proceedings ;  hence  he  was  persecuted  and  despised 
by  them  and  the  factors,  and  treated  with  marked  disrespect.  After  the 
burning  out,  having  lost  his  pious  elders  and  attached  congregation,  he 
went  about  mourning  till  his  demise,  which  happened  not  long  after.  His 
son  had  been  appointed  by  the  people  minister  of  a  chapel  of  ease,  parish 
of  Farr,  and  paid  by  them  ;  but,  when  the  exjiulsion  took  place,  he  remo- 
ved to  Aberdeen,  and  afterwards  to  a  parish  in  Ross-shire.  On  account 
of  his  father's  integrity  he  could  not  expect  a  kirk  in  Sutherlandshire. 

After  a  considerable  interval  of  absence,  I  revisited  my  native  place  in 
the  year  1828,  and  attendecl  divine  worship  in  the  parish  church,  now 
reduced  to  the  size  and  appearance  of  a  dove-cot.  The  whole  congregation 
consisted  of  eight  shepherds,  with  their  dogs,  to  the  amount  of  between  20 
and  30,  the  minister,  three  of  his  family,  and  myself  !  I  came  in  after  the 
first  singing,  but,  at  the  conclusion,  the  120th  psalm  was  given  out,  and 
struck  up  to  the  famous  tune,  "  Bangor ;"  when  the  four-footed  hearers 
became  excited,  got  up  on  the  seats,  and  raised  a  most  infernal  chorus  of 
howling.  Their  masters  then  attacked  them  with  their  crooks,  which  only 
made  matters  worse;  the  yelping  and  howling  continued  till  the  end  of  the 
service.  I  retired,  to  contemplate  the  shameful  scene,  and  compare  it  with 
what  I  had  previously  witnessed  in  the  large  and  devout  congregations  for- 
merly attending  in  that  kirk.  What  must  the  worthy  Mr.  Campbell  have 
felt  while  endeavouring  to  edify  such  a  congregation  !  The  Barony  of 
Strathnaver,  parish  of  Farr,  2o  miles  in  length,  containing  a  population  as 
numerous  as  Kildonan,  who  had  been  all  rooted  out  at  the  general  conflag- 
ration, presented  a  similar  aspect.  Here,  the  church  no  longer  found 
necessary,  was  razed  to  the  ground,  and  the  timber  of  it  conveyed  to  Alt- 
naharrow,  to  be  used  in  erecting  an  Inn  (one  of  the  new  improvements) 
there,  and  the  minister's  house  converted  into  the  dwelling  of  a  fox-hun- 


21 

ter.  A  woman,  well  known  in  that  i)aiish,  happening  to  traverse  the 
Strath  the  year  after  the  burning,  was  asked  on  her  return,  wliat  news  1 
"  Oh,"  said  she,  "  Sgeul  bronach,  sgeul  brhnach  !  sad  news,  sad  news ! 
I  have  seen  the  timber  of  our  well-attended  kirk,  covering  the  Inn  at 
Altnaharrow ;  I  have  seen  the  kirk-yard,  where  our  fi-iends  are  mouldering 
tilled  with  tarry  sheep,  and  Mr.  Sage's  study  room,  a  kennel  for  llobert 
Gunn's  dogs;  and  I  have  seen  a  crow*s  nest  in  James  Gordon's  chimney 
head!"  On  this  she  fell  into  a  paroxysm  of  grief,  and  it  was  several  days 
before  she  could  utter  a  word  to  be  tinderstood.  During  the  late  devasta- 
tions, a  Captain  John  M'Kay  was  appointed  sub-factor,  under  Mr.  Loch, 
for  the  district  of  Strathnaver.  This  gentleman,  had  he  been  allowed  liis 
own  way,  would  have  exercised  his  power  beneficially;  but  he  was  subject 
to  persons  cast  in  anotlier  mould,  and  had  to  sanction  what  he  could  not 
approve.  He  did  all  he  could  to  mitigate  the  condition  of  the  natives,  by 
giving  them  employ mentj  in  preference  to  strangei*s,  at  the  public  works 
;ind  improvements,  as  they  were  cajled ;  but  finding  their  enemies  too 
powerful  and  malignant,  and  the  n/sery  and  destitution  too  great  to  be 
<ven  partially  removed,  he  shrunk  from  his  ungracious  task  and  went  to 
America,  where  he  breathed  his  last,  much  regretted  by  all  who  knew  him 
on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic.  . 


LETTER    IX. 

I  have  already  mentioned  that  the  clergy  of  the  Established  Church 
(none  other  were  tolerated  in  Sutherland),  all  but  Mr.  Sage,  were  consent- 
ing parties  to  the  expulsion  of  the  inhabitants,  and  had  susbtantial  reasons 
for  their  readiness  to  accept  wooly  and  hairy  ^Himals — sheep  and  dogs — 
in  place  of  theii-  human  flocks.  The  kirks  and  manses  were  mostly  situa- 
ted in  the  low  grounds,  and  the  clergy  hithei-to  held  their  pasturage  in 
common  with  the  tenantry ;  and  this  state  of  tilings,  established  by  law  and 
usage,  no  factor  or  proprietor  had  power  to  alter  without  mutual  consent. 
Had  the  ministers  maintained  those  rights,  they  would  have  placed  in 
many  cases,  an  eflectual  bar  to  the  oppressive  j»roceedings  of  the  factors; 
for  the  strange  sheep-farmers  would  not  bid  for,  or  take  the  lands  where 
the  minister's  sheep  and  cattle  would  be  allowed  toco-niingle  with  theira. 
But  no  !  Anxious  to  please  the  "  powers  that  be,"  and  no  less  anxious  to 
drive  advantageous  Imrgains  with  them,  these  reverend  gentlemen  found 
means  to  get  their  lines  laid  **in  plea.sant  places,"  and  to  secure  good  and 
convenient  portions  of  the  pastuie  lands  enclosed  for  themselves:  niany  of 
the  small  tenants  were  removed  purely  to  statisfy  them  in  these  arraiige- 
inents.  Theirsubserviency  to  thefnctoi-s,  in  all  things,  was  not  for  nought. 
Besidesgetting  their  hill  pastumge  enclosed,  their  tillage  lands  wereexU-nd- 
ed,  new  manses  and  olHces  were  built  for  them,  and  roads  made  specially 
for  their  accommodation,  and  every  arrangenjent  made  for  their  advantage. 
They  basked  in  the  sunsliine  of  favour;  they  were  the  bosonj  friends  of  tlie 
factors  and  new  tenants  (many  of  whom  were  soon  made  niagistmtes),  and 


22 

had  the  honour  of  occasional  visits,  at  their  manses,  from  the  proprietors 
themselves.  They  were  always  employed  to  explain  and  interpret  to  the 
assembled  people  the  orders  and  designs  of  the  factors;  and  they  did  not 
spare  their  college  paint  on  these  occasions.  Black  was  made  white,  or 
white  black,  as  it  answered  their  purpose,  in  discharging  what  they  called 
their  duty  !  They  did  not  scruple  to  introduce  the  name  of  the  Diety  ; 
representing  Him  as  the  author  and  abettor  of  all  the  foul  and  cruel  pro- 
ceedings carried  on  ;  and  they  had  at  hand  another  useful  being  ready  to 
seize  every  soul  who  might  feel  any  inclination  to  revolt.  Indeed,  the 
manifest  works  of  the  later  in  their  own  hands,  were  sufficient  to  prove 
his  existence  ;  while  the  whole  appearance  of  the  country,  and  the  state  of 
its  inhabitants  at  this  period,  afforded  ample  proof  that  the  principle  of 
evil  was  in  the  ascendant.  The  tyranny  of  one  class,  and  the  wrongs  and 
sufferings  of  the  other,  had  demoralising  effects  on  both;  the  national 
character  and  manners  were  changed  and  deteriorated,  and  a  comparativly 
degenerate  race  is  the  consequence.  This  was  already  manifest  in  the  year 
1822,  when  George  IV.  made  his  famous  visit  to  Edinburgh.  The  brave* 
athletic  and  gallant  men,  who  in  1745,  and  again  more  recently,  in  1800, 
rose  in  thousands  at  the  call  of  their  chief,  were  no  longer  to  be  traced  in 
their  descendants.  When  the  clans  gathered  to  honour  His  Majesty  on 
the  latter  occasion,  the  Sutherland  turn-out  was  contemptible.  Some  two 
or  three  dozen  of  squalid-looking,  ill-dressed,  and  ill-appointed  men,  were 
all  that  Sutherland  produced.  So  inferior,  indeed,  was  their  appearance 
to  the  other  Highlanders,  that  those  who  had  the  management  refused  to 
allow  them  to  walk  in  the  procession,  and  employed  them  in  some  duty 
out  of  public  view.  If  their  appearance  was  so  bad,  so  also  were  their 
accommodations.  They  were  huddled  together  in  an  old  empty  house, 
sleeping  on  straw,  and  fed  with  the  coarsest  fare,  while  the  other  clans 
were  living  in  comparative  luxury.  Lord  Erancis  Leveson  Gower,  and 
Mr.  Loch,  who  were  present,  reaped  little  honour  by  the  exhibition  of  their 
Sutherland  retainers  on  that  great  occasion.  Moral  degradation  also,  to 
some  extent,  followed  that  of  physical.  Many  vices,  hitherto  almost 
unknown,  began  to  make  their  appearance;  and  though  the  people  never 
resorted  to  "  wild  savage  justice,"  like  those  of  Ireland  in  similar  circum- 
stances, the  minor  trangressions  of  squabbling,  drunkeness,  and  inconti- 
nency  became  less  rare — the  natural  consequence  of  their  altered  condition. 
Religion  also,  from  the  conduct  of  the  clergy,  began  to  lose  its  hold  on 
their  minds — and  who  can  wonder  at  it? — when  they  saw  these  holy  men 
closely  leagued  with  their  oppressors.  ^'Ichabod,"  the  glory  of  Suther- 
land had  departed — perhaps  never  to  return  ! 


LETTER    X. 

I  now  proceed  to  describe  the  "allotments"  on  which  the  expelled  and 
burnt-out  inhabitants  were  allowed  to  locate  during  the  pleasure  of  the 
factors.  These  allotments  were  generally  situated  on  the  sea-coast,  the 
intention  beinjr   to  force  those  who  could  not  or  would  not  leave  the 


23 

country,  to  draw  their  subsistence  from  the  sea  by  fishing ;  and  in  order 
to  deprive  them  of  any  other  means,  the  lots  were  not  only  made  small, 
(varying  from  one  to  three  acres),  but  their  nature  and  situation  rendered 
them  unfit  for  any  useful  purpose.  If  the  reader  will  take  the  trouble  to 
examine  the  map  of  Sutherlandshire  by  Mr.  Loch,  he  will  perceive  that 
the  county  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Northern  Ocean,  on  the  south 
by  the  county  of  Ross,  on  the  west  by  the  Mynch,  on  the  north-east  by 
Caithness,  and  on  the  south-east  by  the  Moray  Frith.  To  the  sea-coasts, 
then,  which  surround  the  greatest  part  of  the  country  were  the  whole 
mass  of  the  inhabitants,  to  the  amount  of  several  thousand  families,  driven 
by  their  unrelenting  tyrants,  in  the  manner  I  have  described,  to  subsist 
as  they  could,  on  the  sea  or  the  air ;  for  the  spots  allowed  them  could  not 
be  called  land,  being  composed  of  narrow  stripes,  j)romontories,  cliffs  and 
precii>ices,  rocks,  and  deep  crevices,  interspersed  with  bogs  and  morasses. 
The  whole  quite  useless  to  the  superiors,  and  evidently  never  designed  by 
nature  for  the  habitation  of  man  or  beast.  This  was,  with  a  few  exceptions, 
the  character  of  these  allotments.  The  patches  of  soil  where  anything 
could  be  grown,  were  so  few  and  scanty  that  when  any  dispute  arose  about 
the  pro|)erty  of  them,  the  owner  could  easily  carry  them  away  in  a  creel  on 
his  back  and  deposit  them  in  another  place.  In  many  places,  the  spots 
the  poor  people  endeavoured  to  cultivate  were  so  steep  that  while  one  was 
delving,  another  had  to  hold  up  the  soil  with  his  hands,  lest  it  should  roll 
into  the  sea,  and  from  its  constant  tendancy  to  slide  downwards,  they  had 
frequently  to  carry  it  up  again  every  spring  and  spread  it  upon  the  higher 
parts.  These  patches  were  so  small  that  few  of  them  would  afford  room 
for  more  than  a  few  handfuls  of  seeds,  and  in  harvest,  if  there  happened 
to  be  any  crop,  it  was  in  continual  danger  of  being  blown  into  the  sea,  in 
that  bleak  inclement  region,  where  neither  tree  nor  shrub  could  exist  to 
arrest  its  progress.  In  most  years,  indeed,  when  any  mentionable  crop 
was  realised,  it  was  generally  destroyed  before  it  could  come  to  maturity, 
by  sea  blasts  and  mildew.  In  some  places,  on  the  north  coast,  the  sea  is 
forced  up  through  crevices,  rising  in  columns  to  a  prodigious  height  and 
scattering  its  spray  upon  the  adjoining  spots  of  land,  to  the  utter  dostinic- 
tion  of  any  thing  that  may  be  growing  on  them.  These  were  the  circum- 
stancos  to  which  this  devoted  people  were  reduced,  and  to  which  none  but 
a  hardy,  patient  and  moral  race,  with  an  ardent  attiichment  to  their 
country,  would  have  quietly  submitted;  here  they,  with  their  cattle,  had  to 
remain  for  the  present,  expecting  the  southern  dealers  to  come  at  the 
usual  time  (the  months  of  June  and  July)  to  purchase  their  stocks;  but 
the  time  came  and  passed,  and  no  dealere  made  their  appearance;  none 
would  venture  into  the  country  !  The  poor  animals  in  a  starving  state, 
were  continually  running  to  and  fro,  and  frequently  could  not  be  prevented 
from  straying  towards  their  former  pasture  grounds,  especially  in  the  night, 
notwithstanding  all  the  care  taken  to  prevent  it.  When  this  occurre<l, 
they  were  immediately  seized  by  the  shepherds  and  impounded  without 
footl  or  water,  till  tresspass  was  paid !  this  was  repeated  till  a  great  many  of 
the  cattle  were  rendered  useless.  It  was  nothing  strange  to  see  the  pinfolds, 
of  twenty  to  thirty  yards  square,  filled  to  the  entrance  with  horses,  cows, 


sheep  and  goats,  promiscuously  for  nfghts  and  days  together,  in  that  starving 
state,  trampling  on  and  goi-iug  each  other.  Tlie  lamentable  neighing, 
lowing,  and  bleating  of  these  creatures,  and  the  pitiful  looks  they  cast  on 
their  owners  when  they  could  recognize  them,  were  distressing  to  witness; 
and  formed  an  addition  to  the*mass  of  suffering  then  prevailing.  But  this 
was  not  all  that  beset  the  poor  beasts.  In  some  instances  when  they  had 
been  trespassing,  they  were  hurried  back  by  the  pursuing  shepherds  or 
by  their  ownei*s,  and  in  running  near  the  precipices  may  of  them  had 
their  bones  broken  or  dislocated,  and  a  great  number  fell  over  the  rocks 
into  the  sea,  and  were  never  seen  more.  Vast  numbers  of  sheep  and  many 
horses  and  other  cattle  which  escaped  their  keepers  and  strayed  to  a 
distance  to  their  former  pastures,  were  baited  by  men  and  dogs  till  they 
were  either  partially  or  totally  destroyed,  or  became  meat  for  their  hunters. 
I  have  myself  seen  many  instances  of  the  kind,  where  the  animals  were 
lying  partly  consumed  by  the  dogs,  though  still  alive,  and  their  eyes  picked 
oat  by  birds  of  prey.  AVhen  the  cattle  were  detained  by  the  shepherds  in 
the  folds  before  mentioned,  for  trespass,  to  any  amouut  the  latter  thought 
proper  to  exact,  those  of  their  owners  who  had  not  money — and  they  were 
the  majority — were  obliged  to  relieve  them  by  depositing  their  bed  and 
body  clothes,  watches,  rings,  pins,  brooches,  ikc,  many  of  these  latter  were 
the  relics  of  dear  and  valued  relatives,  now  no  more,  not  a  few  of  whom 
had  shed  their  blood  in  defence  of  that  country  from  which  their  friends 
were  now  ignominously  driven,  or  treated  as  useless  lumber,  to  be  got  rid 
of  at  any  price.  The  situation  of  the  people  with  their  families  and  cattle, 
driven  to  these  inhospitable  coasts,  and  harassed  and  oppressed  in  every 
possible  way,  presented  a  lamentable  contrast  to  their  former  way  of  life. 
While  they  were  grudged  those  barren  and  useless  spots — and  at  high 
rents  too — the  new  tenants  were  accommodated  Avith  leases  of  as  much 
land  as  they  chose  to  occupy,  and  at  reduced  rents;  many  of  them  holding 
farms  containing  many  thousand  acres.  One  farm  held  by  M  essrs.  Atkin- 
son and  Marshall,  two  gentlemen  from  Northumberland,  contained  an 
hundred  thousand  acres  of  good  pasture-land!  Mr.  Sellar  had  three  large 
farms,  one  of  which  was  twenty -tive  miles  long;  and,  in  some  i)laces,  nine 
or  ten  miles  broad,  situated  in  the  barony  of  Strathnaver.  This  gentleman 
was  said  to  have  lost  annually,  large  quantities  of  sheep;  and  others  of 
the  new  tenants  were  frequently  making  complaints  of  the  same  kind;  all 
these  depredations,  as  well  as  every  other,  were  laid  to  the  charge  of  the 
smcdl  tenants.  An  association  was  formed  for  the  suppression  of  sheep- 
stealing  in  Sutherlandshire,  and  large  rewards  were  held  out — Lord 
Stafford  himself  offering  £30  for  the  conviction  of  any  of  the  offenders. 
But  though  every  effort  was  used  to  bring  the  crime  home  to  the  natives 
(one  gentleman,  whom,  for  obvious  reasons  I  will  not  name,  said  in  my 
hearing,  he  would  rather  than  £1000  get  one  conviction  from  among 
them)  :  yet,  I  am  proud  to  say,  all  these  endeavours  were  ineffectual. 
Not  one  public  conviction  could  they  obtain!  In  time,  however,  the  saddle 
came  to  be  laid  on  the  right  horse;  the  shepherds  could  rob  their  masters* 
flocks  in  safety,  while  the  natives  got  the  blame  of  all,  and  they  were 
evidently  no  way  sparing;  but  at  last  they  were  found  out,  and  I  have 


reason  to  know  that  several  of  them  wefe  dismissed,  and  some  had  their  own 
private  stocks  confiscated  to  their  masters  to  make  good  the  damage  of  their 
depredations.  This  was,  however,  all  done  privately,  so  that  the  odium 
might  still  attach  to  the  natives.  In  concluding  this  part  of  the  subject, 
I  may  observe  that  such  of  the  cattle  as  strayed  on  the  ministeiV  grounds, 
fared  no  better  than  others;  only  that,  as  far  as  I  know,  these  gentlemen 
did  not  follow  the  pmctice  of  the  shepherds  in  working  the  horses  all  day 
and  returning  them  to  the  pinfold  at  night :  and  I  am  very  happy  in  being 
able  to  give  this  testimony  in  favour  of  these  reverend  gentlemen. 

I  must  not  omit  to  mention  here  an  anecdote  illustrative  of  the  state  of 
things  prevailing,  at  that  time  One  of  the  shepherds  on  returning  home 
one  Sabbath  evening,  after  partaking  of  the  Loid's  Supper,  in  tlie  church 
of  Farr,  ob.served  a  number  of  the  poor  people's  sheep  and  goats  trespassing 
at  the  outskirts  of  his  master's  hill-pasturage,  and  with  the  assistance  of 
his  dogs,  which  had  also  been  at  the  kirk,  drove  them  home  and  impounded 
them.  On  Monday  morning  he  took  as  many  of  the  lambs  and  kids  as  he 
thought  proper,  and  had  them  killed  for  the  use  of  his  own  family  !  The 
owners  complained  to  his  master,  who  was  a  magistrate  ;  but  the  answer 
was,  that  they  should  keep  them  oflf  his  property,  or  eat  them  themselves, 
and  then  his  servants  could  not  do  it  for  them,  or  words  to  that  effect. 
One  way  or  other,  by  starvation,  accidents,  and  the  depredations  of  the 
shepherds  and  their  dogs,  the  i)eople's  cattle  to  the  amount  of  many 
hundred  head,  were"  utterly  lost  and  destroyed. 


LETTER    XL 

I  have  now  endeavoured  to  shadow  forth  the  cruel  expulsion  of  my 
**  co-mates  and  brothera  in  exile,"  from  their  native  hearths,  and  to  give 
a  faint  sketch  of  their  extreme  sufferings  and  privations  in  consequence. 
Few  instances  are  to  be  found  in  modern  European  history,  and  scarce  any 
in  Britian,  of  such  a  wholesale  extirpation,  and  with  such  revolting 
circumstances.  It  is  impo.ssible  for  me  to  give  more  than  an  outline  ; 
the  filling  up  would  take  a  large  volume,  and  the  sufferings,  insult,  and 
misery,  to  which  this  sim'ple,  pastoral  race  were  exposed,  would  exceed 
belief.  But  if  I  can  draw  public  attention  to  their  case,  so  as  to  promote 
that  authorised  inquiry,  so  much  deprecated  by  Highland  proprietors,  my 
end  will  be  attained.  If  the  original  inhabitants  could  have  been  got  rid 
of  totally,  and  their  language  and  memory  eradicated,  the  oppressors  were 
not  disposed  to  be  scrupulous  about  the  means.  Justice,  humanity,  and 
even  the  laws  of  the  land,  were  violated  with  imimnity,  wlion  they  stood 
in  the  way  of  the  new  plans  on  "  Change  of  Tenancy;"  and  tlusc  plans, 
with  more  or  less  severity,  still  continue  to  l>e  acted  ujK)n  in  scvt  lul  u£  tlio 
Highland  counties,  but  more  especially  in  Sutherland,  to  this  day.  But 
there  is  still  a  nunil>er  left, abject,  '^scattered  and  perhd"  as  they  are,  in 
whose  behalf  I  would  plead,  and  to  whose  wrongs  I  would  wish  to  give  a 
tongue,  in  hopes  that  the  feeble  remnant  of  a  once  haj»pv  un.l  .stiuKiblo 


26 

people,  may  yet  find  some  redress,  or  at  least  the  comfort  of  public 
sympathy.  I  now  proceed  to  give  some  account  of  the  state  of  the 
Sutherlanders,  on  their  martime  **  allotments,"  and  how  they  got  on  in 
their  new  trade  of  fishing. 

People  accustomed  to  witness  only  the  quiet  friths  and  petty  heavings 
of  the  sea,  from  the  lowland  shores,  can  form  little  conception  of  the 
gigantic  workings  of  the  Nothern  sea,  which,  from  a  comparatively  placid 
state,  often  rises  suddenly  without  apparent  cause,  into  mountainous 
billows  ;  and,  when  north  winds  prevail,  its  appearance  becomes  terrific 
beyond  description.  To  this  raging  element,  however,  the  poor  people 
were  now  compelled  to  look  for  their  subsistence,  or  starve,  which  was  the 
only  other  alternative.  It  is  hard  to  extinguish  the  love  of  life,  and  in 
was  almost  as  hard  to  extinguish  the  love  of  country  in  a  Highlandman 
in  past  times ;  so  that,  though  many  of  the  vigorous  and  enterprising 
pursued  their  fortunes  in  other  climes,  and  in  various  parts  of  Scotland 
and  England,  yet  many  remained,  and  struggled  to  accommodate  them- 
selves to  their  new  and  appalling  circumstances.  The  regular  fishermen, 
who  had  hitherto  pursued  the  finny  race  in  the  northern  sea,  were,  from 
the  extreme  hazard  of  the  trade,  extremely  few,  and  nothing  could  exceed 
the  contempt  and  derision — mingled  sometimes  with  pity,  even  in  their 
rugged  breasts — with  which  they  viewed  the  awkward  attempts  and  sad 
disasters  of  their  new  landward  competitors.  Nothing,  indeed,  could  seem 
more  helpless,  than  the  attempt  to  draw  subsistence  from  such  a  boisterous 
sea  with  such  means  as  they  possessed,  and  in  the  most  complete  ignorance 
of  all  sea-faring  matters;  but  the  attempt  had  to  be  made,  and  the  success 
was  as  might  be  expected  in  such  circumstances;  while  many — very  many 
— lost  their  lives,  some  became  in  time,  expert  fishermen.  Numerous  as 
were  the  casualties,  and  of  almost  daily  occurrence,  yet  the  escapes,  many 
of  them  extraordinary,  were  happily  still  more  frequent;  their  disasters, 
on  the  whole,  arose  to  a  frightful  aggregate  of  human  misery.  I  shall 
proceed  to  notice  a  very  few  cases,  to  which  I  was  a  witness,  or  which 
occur  to  my  recollection. 

William  M'Kay,  a  respectable  man,  shortly  after  settling  in  his  allot- 
ment on  the  coast,  went  one  day  to  explore  his  new  possession,  and  in 
venturing  to  examine  more  nearly  the  ware  growing  within  the  flood  mark, 
was  suddenly  swept  away  by  a  splash  of  the  sea,  from  one  of  the  adjoining 
creeks,  and  lost  his  life,  before  the  eyes  of  his  miserable  wife,  in  the  last 
month  of  her  pregnancy,  and  three  helpless  children  who  were  left  to 
deplore  his  fate.  James  Campbell,  a  man  also  with  a  family,  on  attempt- 
ing to  catch  a  peculiar  kind  of  small  fish  among  the  rocks,  was  carried 
away  by  the  sea  and  never  seen  afterwards.  Bell  M'Kay,  a  married 
woman,  and  mother  of  a  family,  while  in  the  act  of  taking  up  salt  water 
to  make  salt  of,  was  carried  away  in  a  similar  manner,  and  nothing  more 
seen  of  her.  Kobert  M'Kay,  who  with  his  family,  were  suffering  extreme 
want,  in  endeavouring  to  procure  some  sea-fowls'  eggs  among  the  rocks, 
lost  his  hold,  and  falling  from  a  prodigious  height  was  dashed  to  pieces, 
leaving  a  wife,  and  five  destitute  children  behind  him.  John  M' Donald, 
while  fishing,  was  swept  off"  the  rocks,  and  never  seen  more. 


27 

It  is  not  my  intention  to  swell  my  narrative,  by  reciting  the  "moving 
accidents "  that  befell  individuals  and  boats*  crews,  in  their  new  and 
hazardous  occupation ;  suffice  it  to  say,  they  were  many  and  deplorable. 
Most  of  the  boats  were  such  as  the  regular  fishermen  had  cast  off  as 
unservicable  or  unsafe,  but  which  these  poor  creatures  were  obliged  to 
purchase  and  go  to  sea  with,  at  the  hourly  peril  of  their  lives ;  yet  they 
often  not  only  escaped  the  death  to  which  others  became  a  prey,  but  were 
very  successful.  One  instance  of  this  kind,  in  which  I  bore  a  part 
myself,  I  will  here  relate.  Five  venturous  young  men,  of  whom  I  was 
one,  having  bought  an  old  crazy  boat,  that  had  long  been  laid  up  as 
useless,  and  having  procured  lines  of  an  inferior  description,  for  haddock 
tishing,  put  to  sea,  without  sail,  helm  or  compass,  with  three  patched 
oars ;  only  one  of  the  party  ever  having  been  on  sea  before.  This  apparently 
insane  attempt  gathered  a  crowd  of  spectators,  some  in  derision  cheering 
us  on,  and  our  friends  imploring  us  to  come  back.  However,  Neptune 
being  then  in  one  of  his  placid  moods,  we  boldly  ventured  on,  human  life 
ha\'iijg  become  reduced  in  value,  and,  after  a  night  spent  on  the  sea,  in 
which  we  freshmen  suffered  severely  from  sea-sickness,  to  the  great 
astonishment  of  the  people  on  shore,  the  Heather-boat,  as  she  was  called, 
reached  the  land  in  the  morning — all  hands  safe,  with  a  very  good  take  of 
fishes.  In  these  and  similar  ways,  did  the  young  men  serve  a  dangerous 
and  painful  apprenticeship  to  the  sea,  "urged  on  by  fearless  want,"  and  in 
time  became  good  fishermen,  and  were  thereby  enabled  in  some  measure 
to  support  their  families,  and  those  dependent  on  them  :  but  owing  to 
peculiar  circumstances,  their  utmost  efforts  were,  in  a  great  degree, 
abortive.  The  coast  was,  as  I  have  said,  extremely  boisterous  and 
destructive  to  their  boats,  tackle,  &c.  They  had  no  harbours  where  they 
could  land  and  secure  their  boats  in  safety,  and  little  or  no  capital  to 
procure  sound  boats,  or  to  replace  those  which  were  lost.  In  one  year 
on  the  coast,  between  Portskerra  and  Rabbit  Island,  (about  30  miles) 
upwards  of  one  hundred  boats  had  been  either  totally  destroyed  or 
materially  injured,  so  as  to  render  thcnj  unserviceable;  and  many  of  their 
crews  had  found  a  watery  grave!  It  is  lamentable  to  think,  that  while 
X2 10,000  were  expended  on  the  so-called  improvements,  besides  X500 
subscribed  by  the  proprietors,  for  making  a  harbour,  the  most  needful  of 
all;  not  a  shilling  of  the  vast  sum  was  ever  exj>ended  for  behoof  of  the 
small  tenantry,  nor  the  least  pains  taken  to  mitigate  their  lot !  Roads, 
bridges,  inns,  and  manses,  to  be  sure,  were  provided  for  the  accomoda- 
tion of  the  new  gentlemen  tenantry  and  clergy,  but  those  who  spoke  the 
Gaelic  tongue  were  a  proscribed  race,  and  everything  was  done  to  get  rid 
of  them,  by  driving  them  into  the  forlorn  hope  of  deriving  subsistence 
from  the  sea,  while  squatting  on  their  miserable  allotments,  where,  in 
their  wretched  hovels,  they  lingered  out  an  almost  hopeless  existence,  and 
where  none  but  such  hardy  "sons  of  the  mountain  and  the  flood"  could 
have  existed  at  all.  Add  to  this,  though  at  some  seasons  they  procured 
abundance  of  fish,  they  had  no  market  for  the  surplus;  the  few  shepherds 
were  soon  supplied,  and  they  had  no  means  of  conveying  them  to  distant 
towns,  so  that  very  little  money  could  be  realised  to  pay  rent,  or  procure 


'2S 

orther  necessaries,  fishing  tackle,  etc.,  and  when  the  tinny  race  thought 
ju'oper  to  desert  their  shores  (as,  in  their  caprice,  they  often  do,)  their 
misery  was  complete!  Besides  those  located  on  the  sea-shore,  there  was 
a  portion  of  the  people  sent  to  the  mooi-s,  and  these  were  no  better  off. 
Here  they  could  neither  get  fish  nor  fowl,  and  the  scraps  of  land  given 
them  were  good  for  nothing — white  or  reddish  gravel,  covered  with  a  thin 
layer  of  moss,  and  for  this  they  were  to  pay  rent,  and  raise  food  from  it  to 
maintain  their  families  !  By  immense  labour  they  did  iniprove  some 
si)ots  in  these  moors,  and  raise  a  little  very  inferior  produce,  biit  not 
unfrequently,  after  all  their  toil,  if  they  displeased  the  factors,  or  the 
shepherds  in  the  least,  even  by  a  word,  or  failed  in  paying  the  rent,  they 
were  unceremoniously  turned  out;  hence,  their  state  of  bondage  may  be 
understood;  they  durst  not  even  complain  !  The  people  on  the  property 
of  Mr.  Dempster,  of  Skibo,  were  little,  if  anything,  better  ofl".  They 
were  driven  out  though  not  by  burning,  and  located  on  patches  of  moors, 
in  a  similar  way  to  those  on  the  Sutherland  j)roperty,  with  the  only 
diSerence  that  they  had  to  pay  higher  than  the  latter  for  their  wretched 
allotments.  Mr.  Dempster  says  "  he  has  kept  his  tenantry  ;  "  but  how 
has  he  treated  them  1  This  question  will  be  solved,  I  hope,  when  the 
authorised  inquiry  into  the  state  of  the  poor  Highlanders  takes  place. 


LETTER     XII. 

Sir,  — Were  it  not  that  I  am  unwilling  to  occupy  your  valuable  columns 
to  a  much  greater  extent,  I  could  bring  forward,  in  the  history  of  many 
families,  several  interesting  episodes  to  illustrate  this  narrative  of  my 
■country's  misfortunes.  Numerous  are  the  instances  (some  of  the  subjects 
of  them  could  be  produced  even  in  this  city)  of  persons,  especially  females 
whose  mental  and  bodily  sufferings,  during  the  scenes  I  have  described, 
have  entailed  on  them  diseases  which  baffle  medical  skill,  and  which 
death  only  can  put  an  end  to  ;  but  I  forbear  to  dwell  on  these  at  present, 
and  pass  on  to  the  year  1827. 

The  depopulation  of  the  county  (with  the  exceptions  I  have  described) 
was  now  complete.  The  land  had  passed  into  the  hands  of  a  few  capital- 
ists, and  everything  was  done  to  promote  their  prosperity  and  convenience, 
while  everything  that  had  been  promised  to  the  small  tenants,  was,  as 
regularly,  left  undone.  But  yet  the  latter  were  so  stubborn  that  they 
c<juld  not  be  brought  to  rob  or  steal,  to  afford  cause  for  hanging  or 
transporting  them  ;  nor  were  they  even  willing  to  beg,  though  many  of 
them  were  gradually  forced  to  submit  to  this  last  degradation  to  the  feel- 
ings of  the  high-minded  Gael.  It  was  in  this  year  that  her  ladyship,  the 
proprietrix,  and  suite,  made  a  visit  to  Dunrobin  Castle.  Previous  to  her 
arrival,  the  clergy  and  factors,  and  the  new  tenants,  set  about  raising  a 
subscription  throughout  the  county,  to  i)rovide  a  costly  set  of  ornaments, 
with  complimentary  inscrii)tions,  to  be  presented  to  her  ladyship  in  name 


29 

of  lier  tenantry.  Emissaries  were  dispatched  for  this  purpose  even  to  the 
small  tenantry,  located  on  the  moors  and  barren  cliffs,  and  every  means 
used  to  wheedle  or  scare  them  into  contributing.  They  were  told  that 
those  who  would  subscribe  would  thereby  secure  her  ladyship's  and 
the  factor's  favour,  and  those  who  could  not  or  would  not,  were  given  to 
understand,  very  significantly,  what  they  had  to  expect,  by  plenty  of 
menacing  looks  and  ominous  shakings  of  the  head.  This  caused  many  of 
the  poor  creatures  to  part  with  their  last  shilling,  to  supply  complimentary 
ornaments  to  honour  this  illustrious  family,  and  which  went  to  purchase 
additional  favour  for  those  who  were  enjoying  the  lands  from  which  they 
had  been  so  cruelly  expelled. 

These  testimonials  were  presented  at  a  spl ended  entertainment,  and 
many  high-flown  compliments  passed  between  the  givers  and  receiver : 
but,  of  course,  none  of  the  poor  victims  were  present ;  no  compliments 
were  paid  to  them  ;  and  it  is  questionable  if  her  ladyship  ever  knew  that 
one  of  them  subscribed — indeed,  I  am  almost  certain  she  never  did.  Three 
years  after,  she  made  a  more  lengthened  visit,  and  this  time  she  took  a 
tour  round  the  northern  districts  on  the  sea-shore,  where  the  poor  peo))l<* 
were  located,  accompanied  by  a  number  of  the  clergy,  the  factors,  ic. 
She  was  astonished  and  distressed  at  the  destitution,  nakedness,  and 
extreme  misery  which  met  her  eye  in  every  direction,  and  made  enquiries 
into  their  condition,  and  she  ordered  a  general  distribution  of  clothing  to 
be  made  among  the  most  destitute;  but  unfortunately  she  confined  her 
inquiries  to  those  who  surrounded  her,  and  made  them  the  medium  for 
distributing  her  bounty — the  very  parties  who  had  been  the  main  cause  of 
this  deplorable  destitution,  and  whose  interest  it  was  to  conceal  the  real 
state  of  the  people,  as  it  continues  to  be  to  this  day. 

At  one  place  she  stood  upon  an  eminence,  where  she  had  about  a  hun- 
dred of  those  wretched  dwellings  in  view;  at  least  she  could  see  the  smoke 
of  them  ascending  from  the  horrid  places  in  which  they  were  situated. 
She  turned  to  the  parish  minister  in  the  utmost  astonishment,  and  asked 
"  Is  it  possible  that  there  are  people  living  in  yonder  places?" — O  yes, 
my  lady,"  was  the  reply.  "  And  can  you  tell  me  if  they  are  any  way 
comfortable  1 "  **  Quite  comfortable,  my  lady."  Now,  sir,  I  can  declare 
that  at  the  very  moment  this  reverend  gentleman  utti'red  these  words,  he 
was  fully  aware  of  the  horroi-s  of  their  situation  ;  an<l  besides  that,  some 
of  the  outcasts  were  then  begging  in  the  neighbouring  county  of  Caith- 
ness, many  of  them  carrying  certificates  from  this  very  gentleman,  attest- 
ing that  they  were  objects  of  charity  I 

Her  ladyship,  however,  was  not  quite  satisfied  with  these  answers.  She 
caused  a  general  warning  to  be  issued,  directing  the  people  to  meet  her, 
at  stated  places  as  she  proceeded,  and  wherever  a  body  of  them  met  her, 
she  alighted  from  her  carriage,  and  (piestioned  them  if  they  w«;ie  com- 
fortable, and  how  the  factors  were  behaving  to  them  ?  [N.B.  The  factors 
wen^  always  present  on  these  occasions.]  But  they  durst  make  little  or  no 
complaints.  What  they  did  gay  was  in  Gaelic,  and,  of  course,  aa  in  other 
cases,  left  to  the  minister's  interpretation;  but  their  forlorn,  haggard,  and 
destitute  apj>earance,  sutficiently  testified  their  real  condition.     1  am  (juite 


30 

certain,  that  had  this  great,  and  (I  am  willing  to  admit,  when  not  misled) 
good  woman  remained  on  her  estates,  their  situation  would  have  been 
materially  bettered,  but  as  all  her  charity  Avas  left  to  be  dispensed  by  those 
who  w^ere  anxious  to  get  rid  of  the  people,  root  and  branch,  little  benefit 
resulted  from  it,  at  least  to  those  she  meant  to  relieve.  As  I  mentioned 
above,  she  ordered  bed  and  body  clothes  to  all  who  were  in  need  of  them, 
but,  as  usual,  all  was  entrusted  to  the  ministers  and  factors,  and  they 
managed  this  business  with  the  same  selfishness,  injustice,  and  partiality, 
that  had  marked  their  conduct  on  former  occasions.  Many  of  the  most 
needy  got  nothing,  and  others  next  to  nothing.  For  an  instance  of  the 
latter,  several  families,  consisting  of  seven  or  eight,  and  in  great  distress 
got  only  a  yard  and  a  half  of  coarse  blue  flannel,  each  family.  Those 
however,  who  were  the  favourites  and  toadies  of  the  distributors,  and  their 
servants,  got  an  ample  supply  of  both  bed  and  body  clothes,  but  this  was 
the  exception;  generally  speaking  the  poor  people  were  nothing  benefitted 
by  her  ladyship's  charitable  intentions;  though  they  afforded  hay-making 
seasons  to  those  who  had  enough  already,  and  also  furnished  matter  for 
glowing  accounts  in  the  newspapers,  of  her  ladyship's  extraordinary  munifi- 
cence.' To  a  decent  highland  woman,  who  had  interested  her  ladyship, 
she  ordered  a  present  of  a  gown-piece,  and  the  gentleman  factor  who  was 
entrusted  to  procure  it,  some  time  after  sent  six  yards  of  cotton  stuff  not 
worth  2s.  in  the  whole.  The  woman  laid  it  aside,  intending  to  show  it  to 
her  ladyship  on  her  next  visit,  but  her  own  death  occurred  in  the  mean- 
time. Thus,  in  every  way  were  her  ladyship's  benevolent  intentions 
frustrated  or  misapplied,  and  that  ardent  attachment  to  her  family  which 
had  subsisted  through  so  many  generations,  materially  weakened,  if 
not  totally  destroyed,  by  a  mistaken  policy  towards  her  people,  and  an 
undue  confidence  in  those  to  whose  management  she  committed  them,  and 
who,  in  almost  every  instance,  betrayed  that  confidence,  and  cruelly  abused 
that  delegated  power.  Hence,  and  hence  only,  the  fearful  misery  and 
^'  destitution  in  Sutherlandshire." 


LETTER    XIII. 

Sir, — In  the  year  1832,  and  soon  after  the  events  I  have  been  describ- 
ing, an  order  was  issued  by  Mr.  Loch,  in  the  name  of  the  Duke  and 
Duchess  of  Sutherland,  that  all  the  small  tenants,  on  both  sides  of  the 
road  from  Bighouse  to  Melness  (about  thirty  miles),  where  their  cottages 
were  thickly  studded,  must  build  new  houses,  with  stone  and  mortar, 
according  to  a  prescribed  plan  and  specification.  The  poor  people,  finding 
their  utter  inability,  in  their  present  condition,  to  erect  such  houses 
(which,  when  finished,  would  cost  £30  to  £40  each),  got  up  petitions  to 
the  proprietors,  setting  forth  their  distressed  condition,  and  the  impos- 
siVjility  of  complying  with  the  requisition  at  present.  These  petitions  they 
supplicated  and  implored  the  ministers  to  sign,  well  knowing  that  other- 
wise they  had  little  chance  of  being  attended  to ;  but  these  gentlemen 


31 

could  be  moved  by  no  entreaties,  and  answered  all  their  applications  by  a 
contemptuous  refusal.  The  petitions  had,  therefore,  to  be  forwarded  to 
London  without  ecclesiastical  sanction,  and,  of  course,  effected  nothing. 
The  answer  returned  was,  that  if  they  did  not  immediately  begin  to  build, 
they  would  be  removed  next  term.  The  very  word  removed  was  enough; 
it  brought  back  to  their  minds  the  recollection  of  former  scenes,  with  all 
their  attendant  horrore.  To  escape  was  impossible,  they  had  no  where  to 
go ;  and  in  such  circumstances  they  would  have  consented  to  any  thing, 
even  to  the  making  "  bricks  without  straw,"  like  their  oppressed  proto- 
types of  old. 

In  the  midst  of  hopeless  misery,  then,  and  many  of  them  without  a 
shilling  in  their  pockets,  did  they  commence  the  task  of  building  houses, 
nch  as  I  have  mentioned,  on  the  barren  spots,  and  without  any  security 
( »£  retaining  them,  even  when  they  were  built.  The  edict  wa.«^  law  ; 
supplication  or  remonstrance  was  in  vain;  so  to  it  they  went,  under  circum- 
stances such  as  perhaps  building  was  never  carried  on  before,  in  a  country 
called  Christian  and  civilized.  Plans  and  specifications  were  published, 
f\nd  estimates  required  by  the  factors,  directing  the  whole  j^roceedings, 
ind,  as  usual,  without  consulting  the  feelings  of  the  poor  people,  or  in- 
quiring into  the  means  they  had  for  carrying  them  into  effect.  AH  was 
Itustle  and  competition  among  masons  and  mechanics,  of  whom  few  resided 
in  the  country;  most  of  them  were  strangers;  and  when  they  commenced 
work,  the  people  were  obliged  to  feed  them,  whether  they  had  anything 
theuiselves  to  eat  or  not,  and  to  pay  them,  even  if  they  had  to  sell  the 
last  moveable  for  that  purpose.  Some  of  the  masons,  however,  showed 
,'reat  lenity,  and  are  still  unpaid.  Previous  to  this,  in  the  year  1829,  I 
ind  my  family  had  been  forced  away  like  others,  being  particularly 
obnoxious  to  those  in  authority  for  sometimes  showing  an  inclination  to 
<»pl)ose  their  tyranny;  and  therfore  we  had  to  be  made  examples  of,  to 
frighten  the  rest,  but  in  1833  I  made  a  tour  to  the  districts,  when  the 
building  was  going  on,  and  shall  endeavour  to  describe  a  small  part  of 
what  met  my  eye  on  that  occasion.  In  one  district  (and  this  was  a  fair 
specimen  of  all  the  rest),  when  the  building  was  going  on,  I  saw  fourteen 
different  squads  of  masons  at  work,  with  the  natives  attending  them.  Old 
L,Tey-headed  men,  worn  down  by  previous  hard.ship  and  present  want,  wei*e 
to  be  seen  carryinij  stones,  and  wheeling  them  and  other  materials  on  bar- 
rows, or  carrying  them  on  their  backs  to  the  buildings,  and,  with  their 
tottering  limbs  and  trembling  hands  straining  to  raise  the  stones,  <fec.,  to 
the  walls.  The  young  men  also,  after  toiling  all  night  at  sea,  endeavour- 
ing for  subsistence,  instead  of  rest,  were  obliged  to  yield  their  exhausUxl 
frames  to  the  laboure  of  the  day.  Even  female  labour  could  not  be 
dispensed  with  ;  the  strong  as  well  as  the  weak,  the  delicate  and  sickly, 
and  (shame  to  the  nature  of  their  oppressors  !)  even  the  pregnant,  bare- 
footed, and  scantily  clothed  and  fed,  were  obliged  to  join  in  these  nigged, 
unfeminine  lalKjurs,  carrying  stones,  clay,  lime,  wood,  <tc.,  on  their  liacks 
or  on  barrows,  their  tracks  often  reddened  with  the  blood  from  their  hands 
and  feet,  and  from  hurts  received  by  their  awkwai-dnoss  in  handling  the 
lude  matenals.    In  one  instance  I  saw  the  husband  quarrying  stones,  and 


32 

the  wife  and  children  dragging  them  along  in  an  old  cart  to  the  building. 
Such  were  the  building  scenes  of  that  period.  The  poor  people  had  often 
to  give  the  last  morsel  of  food  they  possessed  to  feed  the  masons,  and 
subsist  on  shell-fish  themselves  when  they  could  get  them.  The  timber 
for  their  houses  was  furnished  by  the  factors,  and  charged  about  a 'third 
higher  than  it  could  be  purchased  at  in  any  of  the  neighbouring  sea-ports^ 
I  spent  two  melancholy  days  witnessing  these  scenes,  which  are  now 
present  to  my  mind,  and  which  I  can  never  forget.  This  went  on  for 
several  years,  in  the  course  of  which,  many  hundreds  of  houses  were 
erected  on  inhospitable  spots,  unfit  for  human  residence.  It  might  be 
thought  that  the  design  of  forcing  the  people  to  build  such  houses,  was  to 
provide  for  their  comfort  and  accommodation ;  but  there  was  another 
object,  which  I  believe  was  the  only  true  motive,  and  that  was,  to  hide 
the  misery  that  prevailed.  There  had  been  a  great  sensation  created  in 
the  public  mind,  by  the  cruelties  exercised  in  these  districts ;  and  it  was 
thought  that  a  number  of  neat  white  houses,  ranged  on  each  side  of  the 
road,  would  take  the  eyes  of  strangers  and  visitors,  and  give  a  practical 
contradiction  to  the  rumours  afloat ;  hence  the  poor  creatures  were  forced 
to  resort  to  such  means,  and  to  endure  such  hardships  and  privations  as  I 
have  described,  to  carry  the  scheme  into  effect.  And  after  they  had  spent 
their  all,  and  much  more  than  their  all,  on  the  erection  of  these  houses^ 
and  involved  themselves  in  debt,  for  which  they  have  been  harassed  and 
pursued  ever  since,  they  are  still  but  whitened  tombs ;  many  of  them  now 
ten  years  in  existence,  and  still  without  proper  doors  or  windows,  destitute 
of  furniture,  and  of  comfort ;  merely  providing  a  lair  for  a  heart-broken, 
squalid,  and  degenerated  race. 


LETTER    XIY. 

During  the  period  in  which  the  building  was  going  on,  I  think  in  the 
year  1833,  Lord  Leveson  Gower,  the  present  Duke  of  Sutherland,  visited 
the  country,  and  remained  a  few  weeks,  during  which  he  had  an  opportu- 
nity of  witnessing  the  scenes  I  have  described  in  my  last ;  and  such  was 
the  impression  made  on  his  mind,  that  he  gave  public  orders  that  the 
people  should  not  be  forced  to  build  according  to  the  specific  plan,  but  be 
allowed  to  erect  such  houses  as  suited  themselves.  These  were  glad 
tidings  of  mercy  to  the  poor  people,  but  they  were  soon  turned  to  bitter 
disappointment ;  for  no  sooner  had  his  lordship  left  the  country,  than  Mr. 
Loch  or  his  underlings  issued  fresh  orders  for  the  building  to  go  on  as 
before. 

Shortly  after  this  (in  July,  1833)  his  Grace  the  first  (and  late)  Duke 
of  Sutherland,  who  had  been  some  time  in  bad  health,  breathed  his  last  in 
Dunrobin  Castle,  and  was  interred  with  great  pomp  in  the  family  burying- 
place  in  the  cathedral  of  Dornoch.  The  day  of  his  funeral  was  ordered 
to  be  kept  as  a  fast-day  by  all  the  tenantry,  under  penalty  of  the  highest 


33 

displeasure  of  those  in  authority,  though  it  was  just  then  herring-fishing 
season,  wlien  much  depended  on  a  day.  Still  this  was  a  minor  hardship. 
The  next  year  a  project  was  set  on  foot,  by  the  same  parties  who  formerly 
^'ot  up  the  expensive  family  ornaments  presented  to  her  Grace,  to  raise  a 
monument  to  the  late  Duke.  Exactly  similiar  measures  were  resorted  to, 
to  make  the  small  tenantry  subscribe,  in  the  midst  of  all  their  distresses, 
and  with  similar  results.  All  who  could  raise  a  shilling  gave  it,  and  those 
who  could  not,  awaited  in  terror  the  consequences  of  their  default.  No 
doubt,  the  Duke  deserved  the  highest  posthumous  honours  from  a  portion 
of  his  tenantry — those  who  had  benefitted  by  the  large  sums  he  and  the 
Duchess  had  lavished  for  their  accommodation  ;  but  the  poor  small  ten- 
antry, what  had  been  done  for  them  1  While  the  ministers,  factoi-s,  and 
new  tenantry,  were  rich  and  luxurious,  basking  in  the  sunshine  of  favour 
and  prosperity,  the  miseries  and  oppressions  of  the  natives  remain  unaba- 
ted ;  the^  were  emphatically  in  the  shade,  and  certainly  had  little  for 
which  to  be  grateful  to  those  whose  abuse  of  power  had  brought  them  to 
such  a  pass — who  had  drained  their  cup  of  every  thing  that  could  sweeten 
life,  and  left  only 

"  A  mass  of  sordid  lees  behind  !  " 

Passing  the  next  two  years,  I  now  proceed  to  describe  the  failure  of  the 
harvest  in  1836,  and  the  consequences  to  the  Highlands  generally,  and  to 
Sutherlaml  in  particular.  In  this  year  the  crops  all  over  Britain  were 
deficient,  having  had  bad  weather  for  growing  and  ripening,  and  still 
worse  for  gathering  in.  But  in  the  Highlands  they  were  an  entire  failure, 
nnd  on  the  untoward  spots  occupied  by  the  Sutherland  small  tenants  there 
was  literally  nothing — at  least  nothing  fit  for  human  subsistence;  and  to 
add  to  the  calamity,  the  weather  had  prevented  them  from  securing  the 
])€(its,  their  only  fuel ;  so  that,  to  their  exliausted  state  from  their  dispro- 
portionate exertions  in  building,  cold  and  hunger  were  now  to  be  super- 
added. The  sufferings'of  the  succeeding  winter,  endured  by  the  poor 
Highlanders,  truly  beggar  description.  Even  the  herring-fishing  had 
failed  and  consequently  their  credit  in  Caithness,  which  depended  on  its 
success  was  at  an  end.  Any  little  provision  they  might  be  able  to  procure 
was  of  the  most  inferior  and  unwholesome  description.  It  was  no  uncom- 
mon thing  to  see  people  searching  among  the  snow  for  the  frosted  potatoes 
to  eat,  in  order  to  preserve  life.  As  the  harvest  had  been  disastrous,  so 
the  winter  was  uncommonly  boisterous  and  severe,  and  consequently  little 
could  be  obtained  from  the  sea  to  mitigate  the  calamity.  The  distress 
rose  to  such  a  height  as  to  cause  a  universal  sensation  all  over  the  island, 
and  a  general  cry  for  government  interference  to  save  the  people  from 
death  by  famine  ;  and  the  appeal  backed  by  the  clergy  of  all  denomina- 
tions throughout  the  Highlands,  (with  the  exception  of  Sutherland)  was 
not  made  in  vain. 

Dr.  ^M'Lcod  of  Glasgow  was  particularly  zealous  on  this  ixicasion.  He 
took  reports  from  all  the  parish  ministers  in  the  destitute  districts,  and 
went  personally  to  London  to  repre^sent  the  case  to  government  and 
implore  aid,  and  the  case  was  even  laid  before  botli  houses  of  parliament. 

o 


34 

In  consequence  of  these  applications  and  proceedings,  money  and  pro\'- 
sions  to  a  great  amount  were  sent  down,  and  the  magistrates  and  ministers 
entrusted  with  the  distribution  of  them  :  and  in  the  ensuing  summer, 
vessels  were  sent  to  take  on  board  a  numl>er  of  those  who  were  willing  to 
emigrate  to  Australia.  Besides  this,  private  subscriptions  were  entered 
into,  and  money  obtained  to  a  very  great  amount.  Public  meetings  were 
got  up  in  all  the  principal  cities  and  towns  in  Great  Britain  and  Ireland, 
and  large  funds  collected;  so  that  effectual  relief  was  afforded  to  every 
place  that  required  it,  with  the  single  exception  of  that  county  which,  of 
all  others,  was  in  the  most  deplorable  state — the  county  of  Sutherland ! 
The  reason  of  this  I  will  explain  presently;  but  first  let  me  draw  the 
reader's  attention  for  a  moment  to  the  new  circumstances  in  which  the 
Highlands  were  placed.  Failure  in  the  crops  in  those  noithern  and  north- 
western parts  of  Scotland  was  a  case  of  frequent  and  common  occurrence; 
but  famine,  and  solicitations  for  national  aid  and  charitable  relief,  were 
something  quite  new.  I  will  indeavour  to  account  for  the  change.  Pre- 
vious to  the  "  change  of  tenancy,"  as  the  cruel  spoliation  and  expatriation 
of  the  native  inhabitants  was  denominated,  when  a  failure  occured  in  the 
grain  and  potato  crops,  they  had  recourse  to  their  cattle.  Selling  a  few 
additional  head,  or  an  extra  score  of  sheep,  enabled  them  to  purchase  at  the 
sea- ports  what  grain  was  wanted.  But  now  they  had  no  cattle  to  sell ; 
and  when  the  crops  totally  failed  on  their  spots  of  barren  ground,  and 
when,  at  the  same  time,  the  fishing  proved  unprosperous,  they  were  imme- 
diately reduced  to  a  state  of  famine ;  and  hence  the  cry  for  relief,  which 
as  I  have  mentioned,  was  so  generously  responded  to.  But  I  would  ask 
who  were  the  authors  of  all  this  mass  of  distress  1  Surely  the  proprietors, 
who,  unmindful  that  "property  has  its  duties  as  well  as  its  rights," 
brought  about  this  state  of  things.  They  in  common  with  other  landed 
legislators,  enacted  the  food  taxes,  causing  a  competition  for  land,  and 
then  encouraged  strange  adventurers  to  supersede  the  natives,  and  drive 
them  out,  in  order  that  the  whole  of  the  Highlands  should  be  turned  into 
a  manufactory  to  make  beef  and  mutton  for  the  English  market.  And 
when,  by  these  means,  they  had  reduced  the  natives  to  destitution  and 
famine,  they  left  it  to  the  government  and  to  charitable  individuals  to 
provide  relief  !  Language  is  scarcely  adequate  to  characterize  such  con- 
duct ;  yet  these  are  the  great,  the  noble,  and  right  honourable  of  the  land! 
However,  with  the  exception  of  my  unfortunate  native  county,  relief  was 
afforded,  though  not  by  those  whose  right  it  \vas  to  afford  it.  Large  quan- 
tities of  oatmeal,  seed  oats,  and  barley,  potatoes,  ifec,  were  brought  up  and 
forwarded  to  the  North  and  West  Highlands,  and  distributed  among  all 
who  were  in  need ;  but  nothing  of  all  this  for  the  Sutherlanders.  Even 
Dr.  M'Leod,  in  all  the  zeal  of  his  charitable  mission,  passed  from  Storno- 
way  to  the  Shetland  Islands  without  vouchsafeing  a  glance  at  Sutherland  in 
his  way.  The  reason  of  all  this  I  will  now  explain.  It  was  constantly 
asserted  and  reiterated  in  all  places,  that  there  was  no  occasion  for  govern- 
ment or  other  charitable  aid  to  Sutherland,  as  the  noble  proprietors  would 
themselves  take  in  hand  to  afford  their  tenantry  ample  relief.  This  story 
was  circulated  through  the  newspapers,   and  repeated  by  the  clergy  and 


35 

factors  at  all  public  meetings,  till  the  public  was  quite  satisfied  on  the 
subject.  Meantime  the  wretched  people  were  suffering  the  most  unpar- 
alleled distress;  famine  had  brought  their  misery  to  a  frightful  climax,  and 
disease  and  death  had  commenced  their  work !  In  their  agony  they  had 
recourse  to  the  ministers,  imploring  them  to  represent  their  case  to 
government,  that  they  might  partake  of  the  relief  afforded  to  other  coun- 
ties :  but  all  in  vain  !  I  am  aware  that  what  I  here  assert  is  incredible, 
but  not  less  true,  that  of  the  whole  seventeen  parish  ministers,  not  one 
could  be  moved  by  the  supplications  and  cries  of  the  famishing  wretches 
to  take  any  steps  for  their  relief  !  They  answered  all  entreaties  with  a  cold 
refusal,  alleging  that  the  proprietors  would  in  their  own  good  time,  send 
the  necessary  relief ;  but,  so  far  as  I  could  ever  learn,  they  took  no  means 
to  hasten  that  relief.  They  said  in  their  sermons  **  that  the  Lord  had  a 
controversy  with  the  land  for  the  people's  wickedness ;  and  that  in  his 
providence,  and  even  in  his  mercy,  he  had  sent  this  scourge  to  bring  them 
to  repentance,"  <tc.  Some  people  (wicked  people,  of  course)  may  think 
such  language,  in  such  circumstances,  savored  more  of  blasphemy  than  of 
religious  truth.  Meantime,  the  newspapers  were  keeping  up  the  public 
expectations  of  the  muniticent  donations  the  proprietors  were  sending. 
One  journal  had  it  that  £9,000  worth  of  provisions  were  on  the  way  ; 
others  X8,000,  and  £7,000,  &c.  However,  the  other  Highlanders  had 
received  relief  at  least  two  months  before  anything  came  to  Sutherland. 
At  last  it  did  come  :  the  amount  of  relief,  and  the  manner  of  its  appro- 
priation shall  be  explained  in  my  next. 


LETTER  XV. 

Sir, — In  my  last  I  quoted  an  expression  current  among  the  clergy  at 
the  time  of  the  famine  **that  God  had  a  controversy  with  the  people  for 
their  sins,"  but  I  contend — and  I  think  my  readers  in  general  will  agree 
with  me — that  the  poor  Sutherlanders  were  "more  sinned  against  than  sin- 
ning." To  the  aspersions  cast  upon  them  by  Mr.  Loch,  in  his  book  (written 
by  an  interested  party,  and  evidently  for  a  purpose)  I  beg  the  public  to  con- 
trast the  im])ortant  work  by  General  Stt^wart  before  mentioned,  and  draw 
their  own  conclusions.  The  truth  is  that  the  Sutherlanders  were  examples 
of  almost  all  the  humble  virtues ;  a  simple  and  uncorrupted,  rural,  and 
pastoral  population  :  even  the  unexampled  protracted  cruelty  with  which 
they  were  treated,  never  stirred  them  to  take  wild  or  lawless  revenge. 
During  a  period  of  200  yeais,  there  had  been  only  three  capital  convic- 
tions, and  very  few  crimes  of  any  description  ;  the  few  that  did  occur  were 
chiefly  against  the  excise  laws.  But  those  who  coveted  the  lands,  which 
in  justice  were  their  patrimony,  like  Queen  Jezebel  of  old,  got  false 
witnesses  to  defame  them  (in  order  that  a  ])retext  might  be  afforded  for 
expelling  them  from  the  possessions  which  had  been  dofi'nded  with  the 
blood  of  their  forefathers).      It  was  the  factors,  the  ca])italists,  and  tl.e 


36 

clergy,  that  had  a  controversy  with  the  people,  and  not  the  Almighty,  as 
they  blasphemously  asserted.  The  Sutherlanders  had  always  been  a 
religious,  a  devout,  and  a  praying  people,  and  now  their  oppressors,  and 
not  Divine  Providence,  had  made  them  a  fasting  people.  I  proceed  to 
give  some  account  of  that  mockery  of  relief  which  was  so  ostentatiously 
paraded  before  the  public  in  the  newspapers,  and  at  public  meetings. 

I  have  already  observed  that  the  relief  afforded  to  the  Highland  districts 
generally,  by  the  government,  and  by  private  charity,  was  not  only  effec- 
tual in  meeting  the  exigency,  but  it  was  hone  fide  charity,  and-  was 
forthcoming  in  time ;  while  the  pittance  doled  out  to  the  Sutherlanders, 
was  destitute  of  those  characteristics.  How  the  poor  j^eople  passed  the 
winter  and  spring  under  the  circumstances  before  mention-ed,  I  must  leave 
to  the  reader's  imagination;  suffice  it  to  say,  that  though  worn  to  the  bone 
by  cold,  hunger,  and  nakedness,  the  bulk  of  them  still  survived.  The 
Highlanders  are  still  proverbially  tenacious  of  life.  In  the  latter  end  of 
April,  1837,  when  news  reached  them  that  the  long-promised  relief, 
consisting  of  meal,  barley,  potatoes,  and  seed  oats,  had  actually  arrived, 
and  was  to  be  immediately  distributed  at  Tongue  and  other  stated  places, 
the  people  at  once  flocked  to  those  places,  but  were  told  that  nothing 
would  be  given  to  any,  till  they  produced  a  certificate  from  their  parish 
minister  that  they  were  proper  objects  of  charity.  Here  was  a  new 
obstacle.  They  had  to  return  and  implore  those  haughty  priests  for  certi- 
ficates, which  were  frequently  withheld  from  mere  caprice,  or  for  some 
alleged  offence  or  lack  of  homage  in  the  applicant,  who  if  not  totally 
refused,  had  to  be  humbled  in  the  dust,  sickened  by  delay,  and  the  boon 
only  at  last  yielded  to  the  intercession  of  some  of  the  more  humane  of  the 
shepherds.  Those  who  were  in  the  fishing  trade  were  peremptorily 
refused.  This  is  the  way  in  which  man,  religious  man,  too !  can  trifle 
with  the  distress  of  his  famishing  brother. 

The  places  appointed  for  distribution  were  distant  from  the  homes  of 
many  of  the  sufferers,  so  that  by  the  time  they  had  waited  on  the  minis- 
ters for  the  necessary  qualification,  and  travelled  again  to  places  of 
distribution  and  back  again,  with  what  they  could  obtain,  on  their  backs, 
several  days  were  consumed,  and  in  many  cases  from  50  to  100  miles 
traversed.  And  what  amount  of  relief  did  they  receive  after  all"?  From 
7  to  28  lbs.  of  meal,  and  seed  oats  and  potatoes  in  the  same  proportions; 
and  this  not  for  individuals,  but  for  whole  families !  In  the  fields,  and 
about  the  dykes  adjoining  the  places  where  these  pittances  were  doled  out, 
groups  of  famishing  creatures  might  be  seen  lying  in  the  mornings  (many 
of  them  having  travelled  the  whole  day  and  night  previous),  waiting  the 
leisure  of  the  factors  or  their  clerks,  and  no  attention  was  paid  to  them  till 
those  gentlemen  had  breakfasted  and  dressed,  &c.;  by  which  time  the  day 
was  far  advanced. 

Several  subsequent  distributions  of  meal  took  place  ;  but  in  every  new 
case,  fresh  certificates  of  continued  destitution  had  to  be  procured  from  the 
ministers  and  elders  of  the  resjiective  parishes.  This  was  the  kind,  and 
quantity,  of  relief  afforded,  arid  the  mode  of  dispensing  it;  different  indeed 
from  what  was  represented  in  the  glozing  falsehoods  so  industriously 
palmed  on  public  credulity. 


37 

In  the  month  of  September,  her  Grace  being  then  on  a  visit  in  the 
country,  the  following  proceedings  took  place,  as  reported  in  the  public 
papei-s  of  the  day,  which  afforded  a  specimen  of  groundless  assertions, 
clerical  sycophancy,  and  fulsome  adulation,  for  which  it  might  be  difficult 
to  find  a  parallel : — 

"  The  Presbytery  of  Tongue,  at  their  last  meeting,  agreed  to  present  the  follow- 
ing address  to  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland.  Her  Grace  being  then  at  Tongue,  the 
Presbytery  waited  on  her  ;  and  the  address  being  read  by  the  moderator,  she  made 
a  suitable  reply  : 

"  May  it  please  your  Orace. 

*  *  We,  the  Presbytery  of  Tongue,  beg  leave  to  approach  your  Grace  with  feelings 
of  profound  respect,  and  to  express  our  joy  at  your  safe  arrival  within  our  bounds. 

*'  We  have  met  here  this  day  for  the  purpose  of  communicating  to  your  Grace 
the  deep  sense  which  we  entertain  of  your  kindness  during  the  past  season  to  the 
people  under  our  charge. 

••  When  it  pleased  Providence  by  an  unfavourable  harvest  to  aflBict  the  Highlands 
of  Scotland  with  a  scarcity  of  bread,  and  when  the  clergymen  of  other  districts 
appealed  to  public  charity  in  behalf  of  their  parishoners,  the  confidence  which  we 
placed  in  your  Grace's  liberality  led  us  to  refrain  from  making  a  similar  appeal. 

*'  When  we  say  that  this  confidence  has  been  amply  realised,  we  only  express  the 
feelings  of  our  people  ;  and  participating  strongly  in  these  feelings,  as  we  do,  to 
withold  the  expression  of  them  from  your  Grace,  would  do  injustice  alike  to  our- 
selves and  to  them. 

"  In  their  name,  therefore,  as  well  as  in  our  own,  we  beg  to  offer  to  your  Grace 
our  warmest  gratitude.  When  other  districts  were  left  to  the  precarious  supplies 
of  a  distant  benevolence,  your  Grace  took  on  yourself  the  charge  of  supporting 
your  people  ;  by  a  constant  supply  of  meal,  you  not  only  saved  them  from  famine, 
but  enabled  them  to  live  in  comfort ;  and  by  a  seasonable  provision  of  seed,  you 
were  the  means,  under  God,  of  securing  to  them  the  blessing  of  the  present  abun- 
dant harvest. 

"  That  Almighty  God  may  bless  your  grace, — that  he  may  long  spare  you  to  be 
a  blessing  to  your  people, — and  that  he  may  finally  give  you  the  inheritance  which 
is  incorruptible,  undetiled,  and  that  fadeth  not  away,  is  the  prayer  of 

"  May  it  please  your  Grace, 

"The  Members  of  the  Presbytery  of  Tonouk. 

(Signed)  "HUGH  MACKENZIE,  iforf«ra<or." 

The  evident  tendency  of  this  document  was  to  mislead  her  Grace,  and 
by  deluding  the  public,  to  allay  anxiety,  stifle  inquiry,  and  conceal  the 
truth.  However,  her  Grace  made  a  "  suitable  reply,"  and  great  favour 
was  shown  to  the  adulatore.  About  a  year  before,  the  very  clergynuin 
whose  signature  is  appended  to  this  address  exchanged  part  of  his  glebe  for 
the  lands  of  Dinsad  and  Inshverry;  but  in  consenting  to  the  change,  ho 
made  an  express  condition  that  the  present  occupiers,  amounting  to  eight 
families,  should  be  "removed,"  and  accordingly  they  were  driven  out  in 
a  body!  To  this  gentleman,  then,  tlie  honour  is  due  of  having  consum- 
mated the  Sutherlanci  ejections;  and  hence  he  was  admirably  fitted  for 
signing  the  address.  I  must  not  omit  to  notice  **the  abundant  harvest" 
said  to  succeed  the  famine.  The  family  "allotments  "  only  afforded  the 
sowing  of  from  a  half  firlot  to  two  or  three  firlots  of  oats,  and  a  like 
quantity  of  barley,  which,  at  an  average  in  good  seasons,  yielded  about 


38 

three  times  the  quantity  sown ;  in  bad  years  little  or  nothing ;  and  even 
in  the  most  favourable  cases,  along  with  their  patches  of  potatoes,  could 
not  maintain  the  people  more  than  three  months  in  the  year.  The  crop 
succeeding  the  famine  was  anything  but  an  abundant  one  to  the  poor 
people ;  they  had  got  the  seed  too  late,  and  the  season  was  not  the  most 
favourable  for  bringing  it  to  even  ordinary  perfection.  Hence,  that 
"abundance"  mentioned  in  the  address  was  like  all  the  rest  of  its 
groundless  assumption.  But  I  have  still  to  add  to  the  crowning  iniquity 
— the  provision  distributed  in  charity  had  to  he  paid  for  !  but  this  point 
I  must  postpone  till  my  next. 


LETTER  XYI. 

Sir, — It  would  require  a  closer  acquaintance  with  the  recent  history  of 
Sutherlandshire  than  I  am  able  to  communicate,  and  better  abilities  than 
mine,  to  convey  to  the  reader  an  adequate  idea  of  the  mournful  contrast 
between  the  former  comfortable  and  independent  state  of  the  people  and 
that  presented  in  my  last.  They  were  now  generally  speaking,  become  a 
race  of  pauj^ers,  trembling  at  the  very  looks  of  their  oppressors,  objects  of 
derision  and  mockery  to  the  basest  underlings,  and  fed  by  the  scanty  hand 
of  those  who  had  been  the  means  of  reducing  them  to  their  present  state  ! 
To  their  capability  of  endurance  must,  in  a  great  measure,  be  ascribed 
their  surviving  in  any  considerable  numbers,  the  manifold  inflictions  they 
had  to  encounter.  During  the  spring  and  summer  many  of  the  young 
and  robust  of  both  sexes  left  the  country  in  quest  of  employment ;  some 
to  the  neighbouring  county  of  Caithness,  but  most  of  them  went  to  the 
Lowlands,  and  even  into  England,  to  serve  as  cattle  drivers,  labourers  and 
in  other  menial  occupations.  No  drudgery  was  too  low  for  their  accep- 
tance, nor  any  means  left  untried,  by  which  they  could  sustain  life  in  the 
most  frugal  manner,  and  anything  earned  above  this  was  carefully  trans- 
mitted to  their  sulTering  relations  at  home.  When  harvest  commenced 
they  were  rather  better  employed,  and  then  the  object  was  to  save  a  little 
to  pay  the  rent  at  the  approaching  term;  but  there  was  another  use  they 
had  never  thought  of,  to  which  their  hard  and  scanty  earnings  had  to  be 
applied. 

Not  long  after  the  termination  of  the  Duchess'  visit  (during  which  the 
address  given  in  my  last  was  presented),  I  think  just  about  two  months 
after,  the  people  were  astonished  at  seeing  placards  posted  up  in  all  public 
places,  warning  them  to  prepare  to  pay  their  rents,  and  also  the  meal, 
potatoes,  and  seed  oats  and  barley  they  had  got  during  the  spring  and 
summer  !  This  was  done  in  the  name  of  the  Duchess,  by  the  orders  of 
Mr.  Loch  and  his  under-factors.  Ground-otfieers  were  dispatched  in  all 
directions  to  explain  and  enforce  this  edict,  and  to  inform  the  small 
tenants  that  their  rents  would  not  be  received  till  the  accounts  for  the 
provisions  were  first  settled.    This  was  news  indeed  ! — astonishing  intelli- 


o9 

geiice  this — that  the  pitiful  mite  of  relief,  obtained  with  so  much  labour 
and  ceremony,  and  doled  out  by  pampered  underlings  with  more  than 
the  usual  insolence  of  charity,  was  after  all  to  be  paid  for!  After  govern- 
ment aid  and  private  charity,  so  etfectually  afforded  to  other  Highland 
districts,  had  been  intercepted  by  ostentatious  i)romises  of  ample  relief 
from  the  bounty  of  her  Grace;  after  the  clergy  had  lauded  the  Almighty, 
and  her  Grace  no  less,  for  that  bounty]  the  poor  creatures  were  to  be 
concussed  into  paying  for  it,  and  at  a  rate  too,  considerably  above  the 
current  prices.  I  know  this,  to  persons  unacquainted  with  Highland 
tyranny,  extortion  and  opression,  will  appear  incredible ;  but  I  am  able 
to  substantiate  its  truth  by  clouds  of  living  witnesses. 

The  plan  adopted  deserves  particular  notice.  The  people  were  told,  • 
**  their  rents  would  not  be  received  till  the  provisions  were  first  paid  for." 
By  this  time  those  who  had  procured  a  little  money  by  labouring  elsewhere, 
were  returning  with  their  savings  to  enable  their  relatives  to  meet  the  rents 
and  this  was  thought  a  good  time  to  get  the  "  charity  "  paid  up.  Accord- 
ingly when  the  people,  as  usual,  waited  upon  the  factor  with  the  rent 
they  were  told  distinctly  that  the  meal,  tkc,  must  be  paid  first,  and  that 
if  any  lenity  was  shown,  it  would  be  for  the  rent,  but  none  for  the  provi- 
sions !  The  meaning  of  this  scheme  seems  to  be,  that  by  securing  pay- 
ment for  the  provisions  in  the  first  instance,  they  would  avoid  the  odium 
of  pursuing  for  what  was  given  as  charity,  knowing  that  they  could  at  any 
time  enforce  payment  of  the  rent,  by  the  usual  summary  means  to  which 
they  were  in  the  habit  of  resorting.  Some  laid  down  their  money  at  once, 
and  the  price  of  all  they  had  got  was  then  deducted,  and  a  receipt  handed 
to  them  for  the  balance,  in  part  of  their  rent.  Others  seeing  this,  remon- 
strated and  insisted  on  paying  their  rent  first,  and  the  provisions  after- 
wards, if  they  must  be  paid  ;  but  their  pleading  went  for  nothing,  their 
money  was  taken  in  the  same  manner,  (no  receipts  in  any  case  being  given 
fur  the  payment  of  the  "charity,"  and  they  were  driven  contemptuously 
from  the  counting-table. 

A  few  refused  to  pay,  especially  unless  receipts  were  granted  for  the 
"  charity,"  and  returned  home  with  the  money,  but  most  of  them  were 
induced  by  the  terror  of  their  families  to  carry  it  back  and  submit  like  the 
rest.  A  smaller  portion,  however,  still  continued  refractory,  and  alternate 
threats  and  wheedlings  were  uscil  by  the  underlings  to  make  these  comply; 
so  that  gradually  all  were  made  to  pay  the  last  shilling  it  was  possible  for 
them  to  raise.  Some  who  had  got  certificates  of  destitution  being  unable, 
fiom  age  or  illness,  to  undergo  the  fatigue  of  waiting  on  the  factoi-s  for 
their  portion,  or  of  carrying  it  home,  had  to  obtain  the  charitable  assistance 
of  some  of  their  abler  fellow  sufferers  for  that  purpose,  but  when  there 
was  any  difficulty  about  tlie  payment,  the  carriers  were  miule  accountable 
the  same  as  if  they  had  been  the  receivers !  Hitherto,  the  money  collected 
at  the  church  doors,  had  been  divided  among  the  i>oor,  but  this  year  it 
was  withheld ;  in  one  parish  to  my  personal  knowledge  (and  as  far  as  my  in- 
formation goes  the  refusal  was  general),  the  parish  minist-  them 
tjiat  they  could  not  exiM'ct  to  get  meal  and  money  Inith,  si  -  that 
the  deficient  payments  for  the  provisions  bad  to  be  made  up  from  the 


40 

church  collections.  Whether  this  was  the  truth  or  not,  it  served  for  a 
pretext  to  deprive  the  poor  of  this  slender  resource ;  for,  ever  since — now 
four  years — they  have  got  nothing.  This  is  one  among  many  subjects  of 
enquiry.  Verily  there  is  much  need  for  light  to  be  thrown  on  this  corner  of 
the  land!  A  rev.  gentleman  from  the  west,  whose  failing  it  was  to  trans- 
gress the  ten  commandments,  had,  through  some  special  favour,  obtained 
a  parish  in  Sutherlandshire,  and  thinking  probably  that  charity  should 
begin  at  home,  had  rather  misapplied  the  poor's  money  which  was  left 
in  his  hand,  for  on  his  removal  to  another  parish,  there  was  none  of  it 
forthcoming.  The  elders  of  his  new  parish  being  aware  of  this,  refused 
to  entrust  him  with  the  treasurership,  and  had  the  collection-money  kept 
in  a  locked  box  in  the  church,  but  when  it  amounted  to  some  pounds, 
the  box  was  broken  up  and  the  money  was  taken  out.  The  minister 
had  the  key  of  the  church. 

Owing  to  the  complete  exhaustion  of  the  poor  people's  means  in  the 
manner  I  have  been  describing,  the  succeeding  year  (1838)  found  them 
in  circumstances  little  better  than  its  predecessor.  What  any  of  them 
owed  in  Caithness  and  elsewhere,  they  had  been  unable  to  pay,  and  con- 
sequently their  credit  was  at  an  end,  and  they  were  obliged  to  live  from 
hand  to  mouth ;  besides,  this  year  was  unproductive  in  the  fishing,  as  the 
years  since  have  also  been. 

In  the  earlier  part  of  this  correspondence,  I  have  treated  of  the  large 
sums  said  to  have  been  laid  out  on  improvements,  (roads,  bridges,  inns, 
churches,  manses,  and  mansions  for  the  new  tenants);  but  I  have  yet  to 
mention  a  poll-tax  called  road  money,  amounting  to  4s.  on  every  male  of 
18  years  and  upwards,  which  was  laid  on  about  the  year  l^>10,  most 
rigorously  exacted,  and  continues  to  be  levied  on  each  individual  in  the 
most  summary  way,  by  seizure  of  any  kind  of  moveables  in  or  about  the 
dwelling  till  the  money  is  paid.  To  some  poor  families  this  tax  come  to 
£1  and  upwards  every  year,  and  be  it  observed  that  the  capitalist  possess- 
ing 50,000  acres,  only  pays  in  the  same  proportion,  and  his  shepherds  are 
entirely  exempt !  Those  of  the  small  tenantry  or  their  families,  who  may 
have  been  absent  for  two  or  three  years,  on  their  return  are  obliged  to  pay 
up  their  arrears  of  this  tax,  the  same  as  if  they  had  been  all  the  time  at 
home ;  and  payment  is  enforced  by  seizure  of  the  goods  of  any  house  in 
which  they  may  reside.  The  reader  will  perceive  that  the  laws  of  Suther- 
landshire are  difierent,  and  difierently  administered,  from  what  they  are 
in  other  parts  of  the  country — in  fact  those  in  authority  do  just  what  they 
please,  whether  legal  or  otherwise,  none  daring  to  question  what  they  do. 
Notwithstanding  this  burdensome  tax,  the  roads,  as  far  as  the  small 
tenants'  interests  are  concerned,  are  shamefully  neglected,  while  every 
attention  is  paid  to  suit  the  convenience  and  pleasure  of  the  ruling 
parties  and  the  new  tenantry,  by  bringing  roads  to  their  very  doors. 


41 
LETTER     XVII. 

Sir, — In  my  last  letter  I  mentioned  something  about  the  withliolding 
and  misappropriation  of  the  money  collected  at  church  doors  for  the  poor  ; 
but  let  it  be  understood  that  notwithstanding  the  iniquitous  conduct  of 
persons  so  acting,  the  loss  to  the  poor  was  not  very  great.  The  High- 
lander abhors  to  be  thought  a  pauper,  and  the  sum  afforded  to  each  of  the 
few  who  were  obliged  to  accept  it,  varied  from  Is.  6d.  to  5s.  a  year  : 
the  congregations  being  much  diminished,  as  I  had  before  occasion  to 
observe.  It  is  no  wonder,  then,  that  the  poor,  if  at  all  able,  flee  from 
such  a  country  and  seek  employment  and  relief  in  the  various  maritime 
towns  in  Scotland,  where  they  arrive  broken  down  and  exhausted  by 
previous  hardship — meatless  and  moneyless  ;  and  when  unable  to  labour, 
or  unsuccessful  in  obtaining  work,  they  become  a  burden  to  a  community 
who  have  no  right  to  bear  it,  while  those  who  have  reduced  them  to  that 
state  escape  scot-free.  Any  person  acquainted  generally  with  the 
statistics  of  pauperism  in  Scotland  will,  I  am  sure,  admit  the  correct- 
ness of  these  statments.  The  Highland  landlords  formerly  counted 
their  riches  by  the  number  of  their  vassals  or  tenants,  and  were  anxious 
to  retain  them ;  hence  the  poem  of  Burns,  addressed  to  the  Highland 
lairds,  and  signed  Beelzebub,  by  which  the  ever  selfish  policy  of  those 
gentlemen  is  celebrated  in  their  endeavouring,  by  force,  to  restrain 
emigration  to  Canada.  But  since  then  the  case  is  reversed.  First  the 
war,  and  then  the  food  monopoly  has  made  raising  of  cattle  for  the 
English  markets,  the  more  eligible  speculation,  against  which  the  boasted 
feelings  of  clanship,  as  well  as  the  claims  of  common  humanity  have 
entirely  lost  their  force.  Regarding  the  poll-tax  or  road  money,  it  is  also 
necessary  to  state,  that  in  every  case  when  it  is  not  paid  on  the  appointed 
day,  expenses  are  arbitrarily  added  (though  no  legal  process  has  been 
entered)  which  the  defaulter  is  obliged  to  submit  to  without  means  of 
redress.  There  are  no  tolls  in  the  county  ;  the  roads,  itc,  being  kept  up 
by  this  poll-tax,  paid  by  the  small  tenants  for  the  exclusive  benefit  of 
those  who  have  superseded  them.  In  this  way  very  large  sums  are 
screwed  out  of  the  people,  even  the  poorest,  and  from  the  absentees,  if 
they  ever  return  to  reside.  So  that  if  the  population  are  not  extirpated 
by  wholesale,  a  considerable  portion  of  the  sums  laid  out  on  improvements 
will  ultimately  return  to  the  proprietors,  from  a  source  whence,  of  all 
others,  they  have  no  shadow  of  right  to  obtain  it. 

I  have  now  arrived  at  an  important  event  in  my  narrative;  the  death 
of  an  exalted  personage  to  whom  I  have  often  had  occasion  to  refer — the 
Duchess-Countess  of  Sutherland. 

This  lady  who  had,  during  a  long  life,  maintained  a  high  position  in 
courtly  and  aristocratic  society,  and  who  was  possessed  of  many  great 
qualities,  was  called  to  her  account  on  the  29th  of  January,  1839,  in  the 
74th  year  of  her  age.  Her  death  took  place  in  London,  and  her  bo<ly 
was  conveyed  to  Sutherland  by  way  of  Al^erdeen,  and  finally  intoiTcd  with 
great  pomp  in  the  family  vault,  beside  the  late  Duke,  her  husband,  in  the 
Cathedral  of  Dornoch.     The  funeral  was  attended  to  Blackwell  by  many 


42 

of  the  first  nobility  in  England,  and  afterwards  by  her  two  grandsons, 
Lord  Edward  Howard,  and  the  Honourable  Francis  Egerton,  and  by  her 
friend  and  confidential  servant,  Mr.  Loch,  with  their  respective  suites. 
The  procession  was  met  by  Mr.  Sellar,  Mr.  Young,  and  many  of  her 
under  facto i-s  and  subordinate  retainers,  together  with  the  whole  body  of 
the  new  occupiers,  while  the  small  tenantry  brought  up  the  rear  of  the 
solemn  cavalcade.  She  Wcis  buried  with  the  rites  of  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land. Mr.  George  Gunn,  under-factor,  was  the  only  gentleman  native  of 
the  county  who  took  a  promiaent  part  in  the  management  of  the  funeral 
and  who  certainly  did  not  obtain  that  honour  by  the  exercise  of  extraor- 
dinary virtues  towards  his  poor  coimtryuien :  the  rest  were  all  those  who 
had  taken  an  active  part  iu  the  scenes  of  injustice  and  cruelty  which  I 
have  been  endeavouring  to  represent  to  the  reader,  in  the  previous  part  of 
ray  narrative.  The  trump  of  fame  has  been  seldom  made  to  sound 
a  louder  blast,  than  that  which  echoed  through  the  island,  with  the  virtues 
of  the  Duchess;  every  periodical,  esjiecially  in  Scotland,  was  for  a  time 
literally  crammed  with  them,  but  in  those  extravagent  encomiums  few 
or  none  of  her  native  tenantry  could  honestly  join.  That  she  had 
many  great  and  good  qualities  none  will  attempt  to  deny,  but  at  the  same 
time,  under  the  sanction  or  guise  of  her  name  and  authority,  were  con- 
tinually perpetrated  deeds  of  the  most  atrocious  character,  and  her  people's 
wrongs  still  remain  unredressed.  Her  severity  was  felt,  perhaps,  far 
beyond  her  own  intentions ;  while  her  benevolence  was  intercepted  by  the 
instruments  she  employed,  and  who  so  unworthily  enjoyed  her  favour  and 
confidence.  Her  favours  were  showered  on  aliens  and  strangers  ;  while 
few,  indeed,  were  the  drops  which  came  to  the  relief  of  those  from  whom 
she  sprung,  and  whose  coeval,  though  subordinate  right  to  their  native 
soil,  had  been  recognised  for  centuries.  Peace  to  her  name  !  I  am  sorry 
it  is  not  in  my  power  to  render  unqualified  praise  to  her  character. 

The  same  course  of  draining  the  small  tenants,  under  one  pretext  or 
another,  continued  for  some  time  after  her  Grace's  decease;  but  exactions 
must  terminate,  when  the  means  of  meeting  them  are  exhausted.  You 
cannot  starve  a  hen,  and  make  her  lay  eggs  at  the  same  time.  Tlie  factors, 
having  taken  all,  had  to  make  a  virtue  of  necessity,  and  advise  the  Duke 
to  an  act  of  high-sounding  generosity — to  remit  all  the  arrears  due  by  the 
small  tenantry.  Due  proclamation  was  made  of  his  Grace's  benevolent 
intentions,  with  an  express  condition  annexed,  that  no  future  arrears 
would  be  allowed,  and  that  all  future  defaulters  should  be  instantly 
removed,  and  their  holdings  (not  let  to  tenants,  but)  handed  over  to  their 
next  neighbour,  and  failing  him,  to  the  next  again,  and  so  on.  This  edict 
was  proclaimed  under  the  authority  of  his  Grace  and  the  factors,  in  the 
year  1840,  about  a  twelvemonth  after  the  Duchess's  decease,  and  contin- 
ues the  law  of  the  estate  as  regards  the  unfortunate  natives,  or  small 
tenantiy  as  they  are  generally  called. 

It  will  be  perceived  that  I  have  now  brought  my  narrative  to  an  end  : 
I  may,  however,  with  your  permission,  trouble  you  with  a  few  remarks, 
in  your  next  publication,  by  way  of  conclusion. 


43 
LETTER     XVII 1. 

Sir, — In  concluding  my  narrative,  allow  me  to  express — or  rather  to 
declare  my  inability  to  express — the  deep  sense  I  entertain  of  your  kind- 
ness in  permitting  me  to  occupy  so  large  a  space  of  your  columns,  in  an 
attempt  to  pourtray  the  wrongs  of  my  country.  I  trust  these  feelings 
will  be  participated  by  those  whose  cause  you  have  thus  enabled  me  to 
bring  before  the  public,  as  well  as  by  all  benovelent  and  enlightened 
minds,  wlio  abhor  oppression,  and  sympathize  vriih  its  victims.  I  am 
conscious  that  my  attempt  has  been  a  feeble  one.  In  many  cases  my 
jiowers  of  language  fell  short,  and  in  others  I  abstained  from  going  to  the 
full  extent,  when  I  was  not  quite  prepared  with  proof,  or  when  the  deeds 
of  our  oppressors  were  so  horrible  in  their  nature  and  consequence  as  to 
exceed  belief. 

Though  nowhere  in  the  North  Highlands  have  such  atrocities  been 
practiced  in  the  wholesale  way  they  have  been  in  Sutherland,  yet  the 
same  causes  are  producing  like  efiects,  more  or  less  generally  in  most,  if 
not  all,  the  surrounding  counties.  Sutherland  has  served  as  a  uiodel  for 
successfully  "clearing"  the  land  of  its  aboriginal  inhabitants,  driving  them 
to  the  sea  shore,  or  into  the  sea, — to  spots  of  barren  moors — to  the  wilds 
of  Canada — and  to  Australia ;  or  if  unable  to  go  so  far,  to  spread  themselves 
over  Lowlands,  in  quest  of  menial  employment  among  strangers,  to  whom 
their  language  seems  barbarous,  who  are  already  overstocked  with  native 
labourers,  besides  those  continnally  pouring  in  from  Ireland.  No  wonder 
the  Highland  lairds  combine  to  resist  a  government  inquiry,  which  would 
lead  to  an  exposure  of  their  dark  and  daring  deeds,  and  render  a  system 
of  etticient  poor  laws  (not  sham,  like  those  now  existing)  inevitable. 
Were  all  the  paupers  they  have  created,  by  "removing"  the  natives  and 
substituting  strangers  and  cattle  in  their  places,  enabled  to  claim  that 
support  from  the  soil  they  are  justly  entitled  to,  what  would  become  of 
their  estates? 

Hence  their  alarm  and  anxiety  to  stifle  all  inquiry  but  that  conducted 
l)y  themselves,  their  favourites  and  retainere,  and  their  ever-subservient 
auxiliaries,  the  parochial  clergy.  Will  these  parties  expose  themselves  by 
tracing  the  true  causes  of  Highland  destitution?  Oh,  no!  What  they 
'  annot  ascribe  to  Providence,  they  will  lay  to  the  charge  of  the  "indolent, 
improvident  and  intractible  charact<ir,"  they  endeavour  to  cover  their  own 
foul  deeds  by  ascribing  to  their  too  passive  victims.  They  .say  "the  High- 
landers would  pay  no  rent"  A  falsehood  on  the  very  face  of  it  Were 
not  the  tenants'  principal  effects  in  cattle,  the  article  of  all  others  most 
onvenient  of  arrest?  "The  Highlanders  were  unteachable,  ejiemies  to 
innovation  or  improvement,  and  incorrigibly  opposed  to  the  will  of  their 
sui>erior8."  Where  are  the  proofs?  What  methods  were  taken  to 
instruct  them  in  improved  husbandry,  or  any  other  improvements  1 
Xone  !  They  were  driven  out  of  the  land  of  their  fathers,  causelessly, 
ruelly,  and  recklessly.  Let  their  enemies  say  what  have  been  their 
rimes  of  revenge  under  the  most  inhmnan  provocation?  Where  are 
the  records  in  our  courts  of  law,  or  in  the  statistics  of  crime,  of  the  fell 


44 

deeds  laid  to  the  charge  of  the  expatriated  Highlander  ?  They  are 
nowhere  to  be  found,  except  in  the  groundless  accusations  of  the 
oppressors,  who  calculating  on  their  simplicity,  their  patient,  moral,  and 
religious  character,  which  even  the  base  conduct  of  their  clergy  could 
not  pervert ;  drove  them  unresisting,  like  sheep  to  the  slaughter,  or  like 
mute  fishes,  unable  to  scream,  on  whom  any  violence  could  be  practiced 
with  impunity.  It  was  thought  an  illiterate  j^eople,  speaking  a  language 
almost  unknown  to  the  public  press,  could  not  make  their  wrongs  be  heard 
as  they  ought  to  be,  through  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  land.  To 
give  their  wrongs  a  tongue — to  implore  inquiry  by  official,  disinterested 
parties  into  the  cause  of  mal-practices  which  have  been  so  long  going  on^ 
so  as  if  possible  to  procure  some  remedy  in  future — has  been  my  only 
motive  for  availing  myself  of  your  kindness  to  throw  a  gleam  of  light  on 
Highland  misery,  its  causes  and  its  consequences.  And  I  cannot  too 
earnestly  implore  all  those  in  any  authority,  who  take  an  interest  in  the 
cause  of  humanity,  to  resist  that  partial  and  close-conducted,  sham  inquiry 
to  which  interested  parties  would  have  recourse  to  screen  themselves  from 
public  odium,  and  save  their  pockets.  Some  of  these  parties  are  great, 
wealthy,  and  influential.  Several  of  them  have  talent,  education,  and 
other  facilities  for  perverting  what  they  cannot  altogether  suppress,  making 
"  the  worst  appear  the  better  reason,"  and  white- washing  their  blackest 
deeds — therefore,  I  say,  beware !  They  want  now  a  government  grant, 
forsooth,  to  take  away  the  redundant  population  !  There  is  no  redundant 
population  but  black  cattle  and  sheep,  and  their  owners,  which  the  lairds 
have  themselves  introduced ;  and  do  they  want  a  grant  to  rid  them  of 
these  1  Verily,  no  !  Their  misdeeds  are  only  equalled  by  their  shame- 
less impudence  to  propose  such  a  thing.  First,  to  ruin  the  people  and 
make  them  paupers,  and  when  their  wrongs  and  miseries  have  made  the 
very  stones  cry  out,  seek  to  get  rid  of  them  at  the  public  expense !  Insolent 
proposition  !  "  Contumelious  their  humanity."  No  doubt  there  have 
been  some  new  churches  built,  but  where  are  the  congregations  1  Some 
schools  erected,  but  how  can  the  children  of  parents  steeped  in  poverty 
profit  by  them  ^  The  clergy  say  they  dispense  the  bread  of  life,  but  if 
they  do  so,  do  they  give  it  freely — do  they  not  sell  it  for  as  much  as  they 
can  get,  and  do  the  dirty  work  of  the  proprietors,  instead  of  the  behests 
of  him  they  pretend  to  serve  1  Did  this  precious  article  grow  on  any  lands 
which  the  proprietors  could  turn  into  sheep  walks,  I  verily  believe  they  would 
do  so,  and  the  clergy  would  sanction  the  deed  !  They  and  the  proprietors 
think  the  natives  have  no  right  to  any  of  God's  mercies,  but  what  they 
dole  out  in  a  stinted  and  miserable  charity.  Mr.  Dempster  of  Skibo,  the 
orator  and  a])ologist  of  the  Highland  lairds,  says  he  "keeps  two  permanent 
soup-kitchens  on  his  estate;"  if  this  were  true  (as  I  have  reason  to  believe 
it  is  not),  what  is  to  be  inferred  but  that  the  wholesome  ruin  inflicted  on 
the  natives  has  rendered  such  a  degrading  expedient  necessary.  Their 
forefathers,  a  stalwart  and  athletic  race  needed  no  soup-kitchens,  nor 
would  their  progeny,  if  they  had  not  been  inhumanely  and  unjustly 
treated.  Mr.  Loch  says  in  his  work,  that  the  Sutherlanders  were  "in  a 
state  of  nature."    Well ;  he  and  his  coadjutors  have  done  what  they  could 


45 

to  put  them  in  an  unnatural  state — a  state  from  which  it  would  take  an 
age  to  reclaim  them.  I  admit  there  was  great  need  of  improvement  in 
Sutherland  fifty  years  ago,  as  there  was  at  that  time  in  the  Lothiaiis  and 
elsewhere:  but  where,  except  in  the  Highlands,  do  we  find  general  expul- 
sion and  degradation  of  the  inhabitants  resorted  to  by  way  of  improvement? 
But  Mr.  Loch  has  improved — if  not  in  virtue,  at  least  in  station — and 
become  a  great  man  and  a  legislator,  from  very  small  beginnings;  he  and 
his  coadjutors  have  waxed  fat  on  the  miseries  of  their  fellow-creatures, 
and  on  the  animals  they  have  substituted  for  human  beings.  Well,  I 
would  not  incur  their  responsibility  for  all  their  grandeur  and  emoluments. 
jNIr.  Demi)ster  has  improved,  and  his  factor  from  being  a  kitchen  boy,  has 
become  a  very  thriving  gentleman.  These  are  the  kind  of  improvements 
vhich  have  taken  place,  and  all  would  go  merrily  if  they  could  get 
entirely  rid  of  the  small  tenents,  "the  redundant  population,"  by  a  grant 
of  public  money.  A  ledundant  population  in  an  extensively  ex|>orting 
countiy !  This  is  Irish  political  economy.  The  same  cause  (the  food 
taxes)  is  in  operation  in  that  unhappy  country,  and  producing  similar 
results;  but  the  Irish  do  not  always  bear  it  so  tamely;  a  little  Lynch  law, 
a  few  extra-judicial  executions  is  now  and  then  administered  by  way  of 
example.  This,  however,  is  a  wrong  mode  of  proceeding,  and  one  which 
I  trust  my  countrymen  will  never  imitate :  better  suff*er  than  commit  a 
crime.  No  system  of  poor  law  in  the  Highlands  would  be  of  any  avail, 
but  one  that  would  confer  settlement  on  every  persons  born  in  the 
PARISH.  The  lairds  will  evade  every  other,  and  to  save  their  pockets 
would  be  quite  unscrupulous  as  to  the  means.  They  could  easily  resort 
again  to  their  burning  and  hunting,  but  a  settlement  on  the  English  plan 
would  oblige  them  either  to  support  the  paui>ers  they  have  made,  or  send 
them  away  at  their  own  expense.  This  would  be  bare  justice,  and  in  my 
humble  opinion  nothing  short  of  it  will  be  of  any  avail.  Comparatively 
few  of  the  sufierers  would  now  claim  the  benefit  of  such  settlements;  the 
:;i-eater  part  of  them  have  already  emigrated,  and  located  elsewhere,  and 
would  not  fancy  to  come  back  as  paupers  whatever  tlieir  right  might  be. 
But  there  are  still  too  many  groaning  and  pining  away  in  helpless  and 
hopeless  destitution  in  Sutherland,  and  in  the  surrounding  counties,  and 
I  have  reason  to  know  that  the  West  Highlands  are  much  in  the  same 
situation.  There  is  much  need,  then,  for  official  inquiry,  to  prevent  this 
mass  of  human  misery  from  accumulating,  as  well  as  to  afford  some  hope 
of  relief  to  pnsent  sufferers.  I  have  now  made  an  end  for  the  present ; 
but  should  any  contradiction  appear,  or  any  new  event  of  importance  to 
my  countrymen  occur,  I  shall  claim  your  kind  indulgence  to  resume  the 
pen. 


46 
LETTER    XIX. 

Sir, — I  am  glad  to  find  that  some  of  my  countrymen  are  coming  forward 
with  communications  to  your  paper  confirming  my  statements,  and  expres- 
sing that  gratitude  we  ought  all  deeply  to  feel  for  the  opportunity  you  have 
»fibrded  of  bringing  our  case  before  the  public,  by  so  humble  an  instru- 
ment as  myself. 

Nothing,  I  am  convinced,  but  fear  of  further  persecution,  prevents  many 
more  from  writing  such  letters,  and  hence  you  need  not  wonder  if  some  of 
those  you  receive  are  anonymous.  They  express  a  wish,  which  from 
various  sources  of  information,  I  am  inclined  to  think  general,  that  my 
narrative  should  appear,  as  it  now  does,  in  the  form  of  a  pamphlet,  and 
that  my  own  particular  case  should  form  an  appendage  to  it.  I  had  no- 
intention  originally  of  bringing  my  particular  case  and  family  sufterings 
before  the  public,  but  called  on,  as  I  am,  it  appears  a  duty  to  the  public, 
as  well  as  myself,  to  give  a  brief  account  of  it,  lest  withholding  it  might 
lead  to  suspicion  as  to  my  motives  and  character. 

I  served  an  apprenticeship  in  the  mason  trade  to  my  father,  and  on 
coming  to  man's  estate  I  married  ray  present  wife,  the  partner  of  my  for- 
tunes, most  of  which  have  been  adverse,  and  she,  the  weaker  vessel,  has 
largely  partaken  of  my  misfortunes  in  a  life  of  suflTering  and  a  ruined  con- 
stitution. Our  marriage  took  place  in  1818.  My  wife  was  the  daughter 
of  Charles  Gordon,  a  man  well  known  and  highly  esteemed  in  the  parish 
of  Farr,  and  indeed  throughout  the  county,  for  his  religious  and  moral 
character. 

For  some  years  I  followed  the  practice  of  going  south  during  the  sum- 
mer months  for  the  purpose  of  improving  in  my  trade  and  obtaining  better 
wages,  and  returning  in  the  winter  to  enjoy  the  society  of  my  family  and 
friends ;  and,  also,  to  my  grief,  to  witness  the  scenes  of  devastation  that 
were  going  on,  to  which,  in  the  year  1820,  my  worthy  father-in-law  fell  a 
victim.  He  breathed  his  last  amid  the  scenes  I  have  described,  leaving 
six  orphans  in  a  state  of  entire  destitution  to  be  provided  for ;  for  he  had 
lost  his  all,  in  common  with  the  other  ejected  inhabitants  of  the  county. 
This  helpless  family  now  fell  to  my  care,  and  in  order  to  discharge  my 
duty  to  them  more  eflfectually,  I  wished  to  give  up  my  summer  excursions^ 
and  settle  and  pursue  my  business  at  home. 

T,  therefore,  returned  from  Edinburgh  in  the  year  1822,  and  soon  began 
to  find  employment,  undertaking  mason  work  by  estimate,  &c.,  and  had  I 
possessed  a  less  independent  mind  and  a  more  crouching  disposition,  I 
might  perhaps  have  remained.  But  stung  with  the  oppression  and  injus- 
tice prevailing  around  me,  and  seeing  the  contrast  my  country  exhibited 
to  the  state  of  the  Lowlands,  I  could  not  always  hold  my  peace ;  hence  I 
soon  became  a  marked  man,  and  my  words  and  actions  were  carefully 
watched  for  an  opportunity  to  make  an  example  of  me.  After  I  had 
baflled  many  attempts,  knowing  how  they  were  set  for  me,  my  powerful 
enemies  at  last  succeeded  in  effecting  my  ruin  after  seven  years'  labour  in 
the  pious  work  !  If  any  chose  to  say  I  owed  them  money,  they  had  no 
more  to  do  than  summon  me  to  court,   in  which  the  factor  was  judge» 


47 

a  decreet,  right  or  wrong,  was  sure  to  issue.  Did  any  owe  me  money,  it 
was  quite  optional  whether  they  paid  me  or  not,  they  well  knew  I  could 
obtain  no  legal  redress. 

In  the  year  1827,  I  was  summoned  for  .£5  8s,,  which  I  had  previously 
paid  [in  this  case  the  factor  was  both  i)ursuer  and  judge!]  :  I  defended, 
and  pnxluced  receipts  and  other  vouchera  of  payment  having  been  made  ; 
all  wont  for  nothing !  The  factor,  pursuer  and  judge,  commenced  the 
following  dialogue: — 

Judge — Well,  Donald,  do  you  owe  this  money  ? 

Donald — I  would  like  to  see  the  pursuer  before  I  would  enter  into  any 
defences. 

Judge — I'll  pursue  you. 

Dimcdd — I  thought  you  were  my  judge,  sir. 

Judge — I'll  both  pursue  and  judge  you — did  you  not  promise  me  on  a 
former  occasion  that  you  would  pay  this  debt  ? 

Donald — No,  sir. 

Judge — John  M*Kay  (constable)  seize  the  defender. 

I  was  accordingly  collared  like  a  criminal,  and  kept  a  prisoner  in  an 
adjoining  room  for  some  honrs,  and  afterwards  placed  again  at  the  bar, 
when  the  conversation  continued. 

Judge — Well,  Donald,  what  have  you  got  to  say  now,  will  you  pay  the 
money  1 

Donald — Just  the  same  sir,  as  before  you  imprisoned  me;  I  deny  the 
debt. 

Judge — Well,  Donald,  you  are  one  of  the  damn'dest  rascals  in  exist- 
once,  but  if  you  have  the  sum  pursued  for  between  heaven  and  hell,  I'll 
make  you  pay  it,  ivJiatever  receipts  you  may  hold,  and  I'll  get  you  removed 
from  the  estate. 

Donald — Mind,  sir,  you  are  in  a  magisterial  capacity. 

Judge — I'll  let  you  know  that — (with  another  volley  of  execrations.) 

Donald — Sir,  your  conduct  disqualifies  you  for  your  office,  and  under 
the  protection  of  the  law  of  the  land,  and  in  presence  of  this  court,  I  put 
you  to  defiance. 

I  was  then  ordered  from  the  bar,  and  the  case  continued  undecided. 
Steps  were,  however,  immediately  taken  to  put  the  latter  threat — my 
removal — my  banishment ! — into  execution. 

Determined  to  leave  no  means  untried  to  obtain  deliverance,  I  prei)ared 
an  humble  memorial  in  my  own  name,  and  that  of  the  helpless  orphans, 
whose  protector  I  was,  and  had  it  transmitted  to  the  Marquis  and  Mar- 
chioness of  Stafford,  praying  for  an  investigation.  In  consequence  of  this 
on  the  very  term  day,  on  which  I  had  l>een  ordered  to  remove,  I  received 
a  verbal  message  from  one  of  the  under-factors,  that  it  was  the  noble  pro- 
prietor's pleasure  that  I  should  retain  jiosseshion,  repair  my  houses  and 
provide  my  fuel  as  usual,  until  Mr.  Loch  should  come  to  Sutherlandshire, 
and  then  my  case  would  be  investigated.  On  this  announcement  Upcom- 
ing known  to  my  opponent,  he  became  alarmed,  and  the  parish  minister 
no  less  so,  that  the  man  he  feasted  with  was  in  danger  of  being  disgracetl: 


48 

every  iron  was  therefore  put  in  the  fire,  to  defeat  and  ruin  Donald  for  his 
presmnption  in  disputing  the  will  of  a  factor,  and  to  make  him  an  example 
to  deter  others  from  a  similar  rebellion. 

The  result  proved  how  weak  a  just  cause  must  prove  in  Sutherland,  or 
anywhere  against  cruel  despotic  factors  and  graceless  ministers ;  my  case 
was  judged  and  decided  before  Mr.  Loch  left  London!  I,  however,  got 
Jeddart  justice,  for  on  that  gentleman's  arrival,  1  was  brought  before  him 
for  examination,  though,  I  had  good  reason  to  know,  my  sentence  had 
been  pronounced  in  London  six  weeks  before,  and  everything  he  said 
confirmed  what  I  had  been  told.  I  produced  the  receipts  and  other  docu- 
ments, and  evidence,  which  proved  fully  the  statements  in  my  memorial 
and  vindicated  my  character  apparently  to  his  satisfaction.  He  dismissed 
me  courteously,  and  in  a  soothing  tone  of  voice  bade  me  go  home  and 
make  myself  easy,  and  before  he  left  the  country  he  would  let  me  know 
the  result.  I  carried  home  the  good  news  to  my  wife,  but  her  fears,  her 
dreams,  and  forebodings  were  not  so  easily  got  over,  and  the  event  proved 
that  her  apprehensions  were  too  well  founded,  for  on  the  20th  October, 
1830,  about  a  month  after  the  investigation  by  Mr.  Loch,  the  concluding 
scene  took  place. 

On  that  day  a  messenger  with  a  party  of  eight  men  following  entered  my 
dwelling  (I  being  away  about  forty  miles  off  at  work),  about  3  o'clock  just 
as  the  family  were  rising  from  dinner;  my  wife  was  seized  with  a  fearful 
panic  at  seeing  the  fulfilment  of  all  her  worst  forebodings  about  to  take 
place.  The  party  allowed  no  time  for  parley,  but  having  put  out  the 
family  with  violence,  proceeded  to  fling  out  the  furniture,  bedding,  and 
other  effects  in  quick  time,  and  after  extinguishing  the  fire,  pi-oceeded  to 
nail  up  the  doors  and  windows  in  the  face  of  the  helpless  woman,  with  a 
sucking  infant  at  her  breast,  and  three  other  children,  the  eldest  under 
eight  years  of  age,  at  her  side.  But  how  shall  I  describe  the  horrors  of 
that  scene  1  Wind,  rain  and  sleet  were  ushering  in  a  night  of  extraor- 
dinary darkness  and  violence,  even  in  that  inclement  region.  My  wife 
and  children,  after  remaining  motionless  a  while  in  mute  astonishment  at 
the  ruin  which  had  so  suddenly  overtaken  them,  were  compelled  to  seek 
refuge  for  the  night  under  some  neighbour's  roof,  but  they  found  every 
door  shut  against  them  !  Messengers  had  been  dispatched  warning  all 
the  surrounding  inhabitants,  at  the  peril  of  similar  treatment,  against 
affording  shelter,  or  assistance,  to  wife,  child,  or  animal  belonging  to 
Donald  M'Leod.  The  poor  people,  well  aware  of  the  rigour  with  which 
such  edicts  were  carried  into  execution,  durst  not  afford  my  distressed 
family  any  assistance  in  such  a  night  as  even  an  "enemy's  dog  "  might 
have  expected  shelter.  After  spending  most  part  of  the  night  in  fruitless 
attempts  to  obtain  the  shelter  of  a  roof  or  hovel,  my  wife  at  last  returned 
to  collect  some  of  her  scattered  furniture,  and  erect  with  her  own  hands 
a  temporary  shelter  against  the  walls  of  her  late  comfortable  residence, 
but  even  this  attempt  proved  in  vain;  the  wind  dispersed  her  materials  as 
fast  as  she  could  collect  them,  and  she  was  obliged  to  bide  the  pelting  of 
the  pitiless  storm  with  no  covering  but  the  frowning  heavens,  and  no 
sounds  in  her  ears  but  the  storm,  and  the  cries  of  her  famishing  children. 


49 

Death  seemed  to  be  staring  them  in  the  face,  for  by  remaining  where 
they  were  till  morning,  it  was  next  to  impossible  even  the  strongest  of 
them  could  survive,  and  to  travel  any  distance  amid  the  wind,  rain,  and 
darkness,  in  that  rugged  district,  seemed  to  afibrd  no  prospect  but  that  of 
death  by  falliflg  over  some  of  the  cliffs  or  precipices  with  which  they  were 
surrounded,  or  even  into  the  sea,  as  many  others  had  done  before. 


LETTER     XX. 

Sir, — Before  proceeding  to  detail  the  occurrences  of  that  memorable 
night  in  which  my  wife  and  children  were  driven  from  their  dwelling,  it 
seems  necessary  to  guard  against  any  misconception  that  might  arise  from 
my  rather  incredible  statement,  that  the  factor  (whose  name  I  omit  for 
obvious  reasons) was  both  pursuer  and  judge. 

The  pretended  debt  had  been  paid,  for  which  payment  I  hold  a  receipt, 
but  the  person  represented  it  as  still  due,  and  the  factor  advanced  the 
amount,  issued  the  summons,  ttc,  and  proceeded  in  court  in  the  manner 
I  described  in  my  last.     But  to  proceed  with  my  narrative. 

The  only  means  left  my  wife  seemed  to  be  the  choice  of  perishing  with 
her  children  where  she  was,  or  of  making  some  perilous  attempt  to  reach 
distant  human  habitations  where  she  might  hope  for  shelter.  Being  a 
woman  of  some  resolution,  she  determined  on  the  latter  course.  Buckling 
up  her  children,  including  the  one  she  had  hitherto  held  at  her  breoift^  in 
the  best  manner  she  could,  she  left  them  in  charge  of  the  eldest  (now  a 
soldier  in  the  78th  regiment),  giving  them  such  victuals  as  she  could 
collect,  and  prepared  to  take  the  road  for  Caithness,  fifteen  miles  off,  in 
such  a  night  and  by  such  a  road  as  might  have  appalled  a  stout  heart  of 
the  other  sex  !  And  for  a  long  while  she  had  the  cries  of  her  children, 
whom  she  had  slender  hopes  of  seeing  again  alive,  sounding  in  her  ears. 
This  was  too  much  !  No  wonder  she  has  never  been  the  same  pei*son 
since.  She  had  not  proceeded  many  miles  when  she  met  with  a  good 
Samaritan,  and  acquaintance,  of  the  name  of  Donald  M'Donald,  who 
disregarding  the  danger  he  incurred,  opened  his  door  to  her,  refreshed 
and  consoled  her,  and  (still  under  the  cover  of  night)  accompanied  her  to 
the  dwelling  of  William  Innes,  Esq.,  of  Sandside,  dtitlmess,  and  through 
his  influence,  that  gentleman  took  her  under  his  protection,  and  gave  her 
permission  to  occupy  an  empty  house  of  his  at  Armidalo  (a  sheep  farm  h 
held  of  the  Sutherland  family),  only  a  few  miles  from  the  dwelling  she  h* 
been  turned  out  of  the  day  l)efore.  On  arriving  there  she  was  oblige 
take  some  rest  for  her  exhausted  fraaae,  notwithstanding  the  hoi 
suspense  she  was  in  as  to  the  fate  of  her  children. 

At  this  time  I  was  working  in  Wick,  and  on  that  night  had  laglance 
under  such  great  uneasiness  and  ion  of  something  wrong .  of  my 

that  I  could  get  no  rest,  and  at  \.  i  uiined  to  set  out  and  sent  from 

fared  with  my  family,  and  late  in  the  evening  overtook  my  wifr 


50 

benevolent  conducter  proceeding  from  Sandside.  After  a  brief  recital  of 
the  events  of  the  previous  night,  she  implored  me  to  leave  her  and  seek 
the  children,  of  whose  fate  she  was  ignorant.  At  that  moment  I  was 
in  a  fit  mood  for  a  deed  that  would  have  served  as  a  future  warning  to 
Highland  tyrants,  but  the  situation  of  my  imploring  wife,  who  suspected 
my  intention,  and  the  hope  of  saving  my  children,  stayed  my  hand,  and 
delayed  the  execution  of  justice  on  the  miscreants,  till  they  shall  have 
appeared  at  a  higher  tribunal. 

I  made  the  best  of  my  way  to  the  place  near  our  dwelling  where  the 
children  were  left,  and  to  my  agreeable  surprise,  found  tliem  alive;  the 
eldest  boy  in  pursuance  of  his  mother's  instructions,  had  made  great  exer- 
tions, and  succeeded  in  obtaining  for  them  temporary  shelter.  He  took 
the  infant  on  his  back,  and  the  other  two  took  hold  •of  him  by  the  kilt^ 
and  in  this  way  they  travelled  in  darkness,  through  rough  and  smooth, 
bog  and  mire,  till  they  arrived  at  a  grand-aunt's  house,  when,  finding  the 
door  open  they  bolted  in,  and  the  boy  advancing  to  his  astonished  aunt, 
laid  his  infant  burden  in  her  lap,  without  saying  a  word,  and  proceeding 
to  unbuckle  the  other  two,  he  placed  them  before  the  fire  without  waiting 
for  invitati9n.  The  goodman  here  rose,  and  said  he  must  leave  the  house 
and  seek  a  lodging  for  himself,  as  he  could  not  think  of  turning  the 
children  out,  and  yet  dreaded  the  ruin  threatened  to  any  that  would 
harbour  or  shelter  them,  and  he  had  no  doubt  his  house  would  be  watched 
to  see  if  he  should  transgress  against  the  order.  His  wife,  a  pious  woman, 
upbraided  him  with  cowardice,  and  declared  that  if  there  was  a  legion  of 
devils  watching  her  she  would  not  put  out  the  children  or  leave  the  house 
either.  So  they  got  leave  to  remain  till  I  found  them  next  day,  but  the 
man  impelled  by  his  fears,  did  go  and  obtain  a  lodging  two  miles  ofil  I 
now  brought  the  children  to  their  mother,  and  set  about  collecting  my 
little  furniture  and  other  effects  which  had  been  damagedj.by  exposure  to 
the  weather,  and  some  of  it  lost  or  destroyed.  I  brought  what  I  thought 
worth  the  trouble,  to  Armidale,  and  having  thus  secured  them  and  seen 
the  family  under  shelter,  I  began  to  cast  about  to  see  how  they  were  to 
live,  and  here  I  found  troubles  and  difiiculties  besetting  us  on  every  side. 

I  had  no  fear  of  being  able  by  my  work  to  maintain  the  family  in  com- 
mon necessaries,  if  we  could  get  them  for  money,  but  one  important 
necessary,  fuel,  we  could  scarce  at  all  obtain,  as  nobody  would  venture 
to  sell  or  give  us  peats  (the  only  fuel  used),  for  fear  of  the  factors;  but  at 
last  it  was  contrived  that  they  would  allow  us  to  take  them  by  stealth,  and 
Jinder  cover  of  night ! 

'  My  employment  obliging  me  to  be  often  from  home,  this  laborious 
f'k  fell  to  the  lot  of  my  poor  wife.  The  winter  came  on  with  more 
^  ®^>  its  usual  severity,  and  often  amidst  blinding,  suffocating  drifts,  and 
^/^^'ests  unknown  in  the  lowlands,  had  this  poor,  tenderly  brought  up 
^  f™^n  to  toil  through  snow,  wind,  and  rain,  for  miles,  with  a  burden  of 
DU  e\t^  her  back  !  Instances,  however,  were  not  few  of  the  kind  assis- 
th^    ^Vl^  neighbours  endeavouring  by  various  ways  to  mitigate  her  hard 

^  PJ  ^*irh,  of  course,  all  by  stealth  lest  they  should  incur  the  vengeance 
sounds  m-'^^^^^^ 


During  the  winter  and  following  spring,  every  means  was  used  to  induce 
Mr.  Innes  to  withdraw  his  protection  and  turn  us  out  of  the  house ;  so 
that  I  at  last  determined  to  take  steps  for  removing  myself  and  family 
for  ever  from  those  scenes  of  persecution  and  misery.  With  this  view,  in 
the  latter  end  of  spring  I  went  to  Edinburgh,  and  found  employment, 
intending  when  I  had  saved  as  nmch  as  would  cover  the  expenses,  to  bring 
the  family  away.     As  soon  as  it  was  known  that  I  was  away,  our  enemies 

recommenced  their  work.     Mr. ,  a  gentleman,  who  fattened  on  the 

spoils  of  the  poor  in  Sutherland,  and  who  is  now  pursuing  the  same  course 
on  the  estates  of  Sir  John  Sinclair  in  Caithness  ;  this  manager  and  factor 
bounced  into  my  house  one  day  quite  unexpectedly,  and  began  abusing 
my  wife,  and  threatened  her  if  she  did  not  instantly  remove,  he  would 
take  steps  that  would  astonish  her,  the  nature  of  which  she  would  not 
know  till  they  fell  upon  her,  adding  that  he  knew  Donald  M'Leod  was  now 
in  Edinburgh,  and  could  not  assist  her  in  making  resistance.  The  poor 
woman,  knowing  she  had  no  mercy  to  expect,  and  fearing  even  for  her 
life,  removed  %\dth  her  family  and  little  effects  to  my  mother's  house  which 
stood  near  the  parish  church,  and  was  received  kindly  by  her.  There  she 
ho|)ed  to  find  shelter  and  repose  for  a  short  time,  till  I  should  come  and 
take  her  and  the  family  away,  and  this  being  the  week  of  the  sacrament, 
she  was  anxious  to  partake  of  that  ordinance  in  the  house  where  her  fore- 
fathers had  worshipped,  before  she  bade  it  farewell  for  ever.  But  on  the 
Thursday  previous  to  that  solemn  occasion,  the  factor  again  terrified  her 
by  his  appearance,  and  alarmed  my  mother  to  such  an  extent  that  my 
poor  family  had  again  to  turn  out  in  the  night,  and  had  they  not  a  more 
powerful  friend,  they  would  have  been  forced  to  spend  that  night  in  the 
open  air.  Next  day  she  bade  adieu  to  her  native  country  and  friends, 
leaving  the  sacrament  to  be  received  by  her  oppressors,  from  the  hands  of 
one  no  better  than  themselves,  and  after  two  days  of  incredible  toil  she 
arrived  with  the  family  at  Thurso,  a  distance  of  nearly  forty  miles ! 

These  protracted  sufferings  and  alarms  have  made  fatal  inroads  on  the 
li(?alth  of  this  once  strong  and  healthy  woman — one  of  the  best  of  wives — 
o  that  instead  of  the  cheerful  and  active  helpmate  she  was  formerly,  she 
is  now,  except  at  short  intervals,  a  burden  to  herself,  with  little  or  no  hopes 
of  recovery.  She  has  been  under  medical  treatment  for  years,  and  has 
us<;tl  a  great  quantity  of  medicine  with  little  effect;  the  injuries  she 
received  in  body  and  mind,  were  too  deep  for  even  her  good  spirits  and 
excellent  constitutiou  to  overcome,  and  she  remains  a  living  monument  of 
Highland  oppression. 


LETTER    XXI. 

Sir, — I  beg  leave,  by  way  of  conclusion,  to  take  a  retit)spective  glance 
of  some  of  the  occurences  that  preceded  the  violent  exj)nlsion  of  my 
fauiily,  as  descril>ed  in  my  two  last  letters,  and  our  final  retirement  from 
the  country  of  our  nativity. 


For  reasons  before  alleged,  nothing  could  have  given  more  satisfaction 
to  the  factors,  clerg}-,  and  all  the  Jacks-in-ol^ice  under  them,  than  a  final 
riddance  of  that  troublesome  man,  Donald  M'Leod ;  and  hence  their 
extreme  eagerness  to  make  an  example  of  him,  to  deter  others  from  call- 
ing their  proceedings  in  question.  I  mentioned  in  letter  XTX  that  on 
being  unjustly  and  illegally  imprisoned,  and  decerned  to  pay  money  I  did 
not  owe,  I  prepared  and  forwarded  a  memorial  to  the  noble  proprietors  (the 
then  Marquis  and  Marchioness  of  Stafford),  setting  forth  the  hardships  of 
my  case,  and  praying  for  investigation,  alleging  that  I  wo^uld  answer  any 
accusation  of  my  enemies,  by  undeniable  testimonials  of  honest  and  peace- 
ful character.  This  memorial  was  returned  with  the  deliverance  that  Mr. 
Loch,  on  his  next  visit  to  Sutherland,  would  examine  into  my  case  and 
decide.  I  then  set  about  procuring  my  proposed  certificate  preparatory 
to  the  investigation,  but  here  I  found  myself  baffled  and  disappointed  in  a 
quarter  from  which  I  had  no  reason  to  expect  such  treatment.  I  waited 
on  my  parish  minister,  the  Kev.  Mr.  M'Kenzie,  requesting  him  to  give 
me  a  certificate,  and  then,  after  him  I  could  obtain  the  signatures  of  the 
elders  and  as  many  of  the  other  parishoners  as  might  be  necessary.  He 
made  no  objection  at  the  time,  but  alleging  that  he  was  then  engaged, 
said  I  could  send  my  wife  for  it.  I  left  directions  with  her  accordingly, 
and  returned  to  my  work.  The  same  night  the  factor  (my  pretended 
creditor  and  judge)  had  the  minister  and  his  family  to  spend  the  evening 
with  him,  and  the  consequence  was  that  in  the  morning  a  messenger  was 
dispatched  from  his  reverence  to  my  wife,  to  say,  that  she  need  not  take 
the  trouble  of  calling  for  the  certificate,  as  he  had  changed  his  mind ! 
Some  days  after,  I  returned  and  waited  on  the  Rev.  gentleman  to  inquire 
the  cause  of  this  change.  I  had  great  difiiculty  in  obtaining  an  audience, 
and  when  at  last  I  did,  it  was  little  to  my  satisfaction.  His  manner  was 
contemptuous  and  forbidding ;  at  last  he  told  me  that  he  could  not  give 
me  a  certificate  as  I  was  at  variance  with  the  factor;  that  my  conduct  was 
unscriptural,  as  I  obeyed  not  those  set  in  authority  over  me,  tfec.  I 
excused  and  defended  myself  as  well  as  I  could,  but  all  went  for  nothing, 
and  at  last  he  ordered  me  to  be  off,  and  shut  the  door  in  my  face.  This 
took  place  in  June,  1830,  and  Mr.  Loch  was  not  expected  till  the  Septem- 
ber following,  during  whi(5h  interval  I  had  several  re-encounters  with  the 
minister.  Many  of  his  elders  and  parishoners  pleaded  and  remonstrated 
with  him  on  my  behalf,  well  knowing  that  little  attention  would  be  paid 
in  high  quarters  to  ray  complaints  however  just,  without  his  sanction; 
and  considerable  excitement  prevailed  in  the  parish  about  this  dispute, 
but  the  minister  remained  immoveable.  Meantime  the  parish  schoolmaster 
mentioned  in  confidence  to  one  of  the  elders  (who  was  a  relation  of  my 
wife,  and  communicated  it  to  us)  that  my  case  was  already  decided  by 
Mr.  Loch,  though  a  sham  trial  would  take  ]jlace  ;  that  he  had  been  told 
this,  and  he  had  It  from  good  authority,  and  that  the  best -thing  I  could 
do  was  to  leave  the  place  entirely.  I  could  not  believe  this,  but  the  result 
proved  the  truth  of  it.  Matters  continued  in  the  same  way  till  Mr.  Loch's 
arrival,  when  I  ventured  to  repeat  my  request  to  the  uiinister,  but  found 
him  still  more  determined,  and  I  was  dismissed  with  more  than  usual 


53 

oontempt.  I  then  got  a  certificate  prepared  myself,  and  readily  obtained 
the  signatures  <^  the  eldei-s  and  neighbouring  parishoners  to  the  amount 
of  several  hundreds,  which  I  presented  to  ^Ir.  Loch,  along  with  the  before 
mentioned  memonal,  when  the  following  dialogue  took  place  between  that 
^'entleman  and  me  in  presence  of  the  factors,  «tc. 

Mr.  Loch. — Well,  Mr.  M'Leod,  why  don't  you  pay  this  £b  8s.  you 
were  summoned  for  ? 

Donald. — Jugt,  Sir,  because  I  don't  consider  myself  entitled  to  pay  it. 
I  hold  legal  receipts  to  show  that  I  paid  it  two  yeara  ago  ;  besides,  that  is 
I  case  to  be  legally  decided  before  a  competent  court,  and  has  no  connexion 
with  my  memorial. 

^[r.  L.—  Will  you  pay  it  altogether  or  by  instalments,  if  you  are  allowed 
I  o  remain  on  the  estate  1 

D. — Let  the  case  be  witlidrawn  from  the  civil  court  or  decided  by  the 
ivil  magistrate,  before  I  answer  that  question. 

Mr.  L. — Well,  can  you  produce  the  certificate  of  character  mentioned 
in  this  memorial? 

I  hdnded  over  to  him  the  certificate  mentioned  above,  with  three  or  four 
heets  full  of  names  attached  to  it.     He  look  at  it  for  some  time  (per- 
iiaps  surprised  at  the  number  of  signatures)  and  then  said, — 

Mr.  L. — I  cannot  see  the  minister's  name  here,  how  is  this  ? 

I).—l  applied  to  the  minister  and  he  would  not  sign  it. 

Mr.  /..—Why  ] 

D. — He  stated  as  his  reason  that  T  was  at  variance  with  the  factors. 

One  of  the  factors. — That  is  a  falsehood. 

Mr.  L. — I  will  wait  upon  Mr.  M'Kenzie  on  the  subject. 

D. — Will  you  allow  me,  sir,  to  meet  you  and  Mr.  M'Kenzie  face  to 
lice,  when  he  is  asked  to  give  his  reasons ? 

Mr.  L. — Why  will  you  not  believe  what  he  says  ? 

/>.— I  have  got  too  much  rea:son  to  doubt  it ;  but  if  he  attempts  to  deny 
A  hat  I  have  stated,  I  hoj>c  you  will  allow  him  to.  be  examined  on  oathi 

^fr.  L. — By  no  means,  we  must  surely  believe  the  minister. 

Aft^r  asking  mo  some  further  questions  which  had  nothing  to  do  with 
he  matter  in  hand,  he  dismissed  me  in  seeming  goo<l  humour. 

I  pressed  to  know  his  decision  in  my  case,    but  he  said,  you    will 

;»;t  to  know  it  before  I  leave  the  country ;  nmkc  yourself  easy,  I  will  write 

'  o  your  parish  minister  in  a  few  days.     The  result  was  the  cruel  expulsion 

f  my  family  and  the  spoliation  of  my  goods,  as  detailed  in  my  two  last 

■ttei-s. 

Mr.  Loch  in  his  judgement  on  my  case,  alleged  ns  his  principal  reason 

•r  punishing  me  that  Mr.  M'Kenzie  denied  my  assertions  in  regard  to 

himself,  and  represented  me  as  a  turbulent  character. 

'  During  our  temi>orary  residence  at  Armidale,  I  took  an  op|>ortunity  of 

'  I  waiting  on  the  Kev.  genth-man  when  he  was  catechising  in  a  neigh- 

ng  fishing  village  with  several  of  his  elders  in  company,  and  asked  to 

I'lak  with  him  in  their  presence.      He  attempted  to  meet  mo  outside  the 

ioor,  but  I  pushed  in  when  the  eldei-s  were  sitting  at  breakfast;  saying, 

no  sir,  I  wish  what  passes  between  you  and  me  to  bo  before  witnesses. 


54 

I  want  a  certificate  of  my  moral  cliaracter,  or  an  explanation  from  yoit 
before  your  elders  why  it  is  withheld."  Here  my  worthy  friend  Donald 
M'Donald  (the  preserver  of  my  wife's  life  on  the  memorable  night  of  her 
expulsion)  interfered  and  expostulated  with  his  reverence,  who  driver* 
into  a  corner,  found  no  excuse  for  refusal,  except  that  he  had  not  writing 
materials  convenient.  I  directly  met  this  objection  by  producing  the 
articles  required,  yet,  strange  to  say,  he  found  means  to  shuffle  the  busi- 
ness over  by  a  solemn  promise,  in  presence  of  his  elders,  to  do  it  on  a 
certain  mentioned  day.  I  waited  on  him  that  day,  and  after  long  delay 
was  admitted  into  his  parlour  and  accosted  with,  "Well  M'Leod,  I  am  not 
intending  to  give  you  a  certificate."  "Why  so,  sirl"  Because  you 
have  told  falsehoods  of  me  to  Mr.  Loch,  and  I  cannot  certify  for  a  man 
that  I  know  to  be  a  liar  : "  adding  "  Donald,  I  would  favour  you  on  your 
father's  account,  and  much  more  on  your  father-in-law's  account,  but  after 
what  you  have  said  of  me,  I  cannot."  I  repelled  the  charge  of  being  a 
liar,  and  said  "  I  do  believe  that  if  my  father  and  father-in-law,  whom  you 
have  mentioned  with  so  much  respect,  stood  at  the  gate  of  Heaven  seeking 
admittance,  and  nothing  to  prevent  them  but  a  false  accusation  on  the 
part  of  some  of  the  factors,  you  woud  join  in  refusing  their  entrance  to 
all  eternity."  He  rose  up  and  said,  "you  are  a  Satan  and  not  fit  for 
human  society."  I  retired  for  that  time ;  but  ultimately  forced  him,  by 
incessant  applications,  to  write  and  sign  the  following: — 

"  This  certifies  that  the  bearer,  Donald  M'Leod,  is  a  native  of  this  parish 
a  married  man,  free  from  church  censure ;  therefore  he,  his  wife  and 
family  may  he  admitted  as  Gospel  hearers  wherever  Providence  may  order 
their  lot. 

Given  at  Farr  Manse.  (Signed) 

Previous  to  gi-anting  this  certificate  the  minister  proposed  to  bind  me 
up  not  to  use  it  to  the  prejudice  of  the  Marquis  of  Stafford,  or  any  of  his 
factors!  This  point,  however,  he  did  not  carry,  for  when  he  suljmitted 
it  to  the  session  he  was  overruled  by  their  votes. 

This  concludes  the  narrative  of  what  I  have  myself  suffered  at  the  hands 
of  the  petty  tyrants  whom  I  had  enraged  by  denouncing  their  barbarous 
treatment  of  my  countrymen,  and  whose  infamous  deeds  I  have  had  the 
satisfaction  of  exposing  to  public  reprobation.  I  shall  not  resume  the  pen 
on  this  subject  unless  I  see  that  what  I  have  written  requires  to  be  fol- 
lowed up  to  prevent  a  continuation  of  such  atrocities  as  are  already 
recorded.  I  am  a  Highlander,  and  must  have  revenge  for  the  wrongs  I 
have  suffered.  The  revenge  I  desire  is  that  these  letters  may  be  pre- 
served for  many  a  day  in  my  native  country,  to  keep  up  the  remembrance 
of  the  evil  that  was  done  to  many  an  innocent  individual,  and  among 
others  to 

Donald  M'Leod. 


THE   LATE   RIOTS   IN   DURNESS. 


LETTER    XXII. 

When  concluding  that  series  of  letters,  descriptive  of  the  woes  of  Suth- 
erlandshire,  which  I  now  republish  in  the  form  of  a  pamphlet,  I  was  not 
expecting  so  soon  to  find  occasion  to  add  important  new  matter  to  the  sad 
detail.  Another  portion  of  my  native  county  has  fallen  under  the  ' 
oppressor,  and  got  into  the  fangs  of  law,  which  being  administered  by 
those  interested,  little  mercy  can  be  expected  by  the  wretched  defaulters. 

All  those  conversant  with  the  public  papers  will  have  seen  an  article, 
copied  from  the  Inveiness  Courier,  entitled  "  Riot  in  Durness,  Suther- 
landshire,"  in  which  as  usual  a  partial  and  one-sided  account  of  the  affair 
is  given,  and  the  whole  blame  laid  on  the  unfortunate  inhabitants.  The 
^^olation  of  law,  committed  by  the  poor  people  driven  to  desperation,  and 
for  which  they  will  no  doubt  have  to  pay  dear,  is  exaggerated,  while  their 
inhuman  oppression  and  provocation  are  carefully  left  out  of  sight.  The 
following  facts  of  the  cases  are  a  combination  of  my  own  knowledge,  and 
that  of  trustworthy  correspondents  who  were  eye-witnesses  of  this  unfor- 
tunate occurrence,  which  will  yet  be  productive  of  much  misery  to  the 
victims — perhaps  end  in  causing  their  blood  to  be  shed  ! 

Mr.  Anderson,  the  tacksman  of  Keenabin,  and  other  farms  under  Lord 
Reay,  which  were  the  scene  of  the  riot,  was  one  of  the  earliest  of  that 
unhallowed  crew  of  new  tenants,  or  middlemen,  who  came  in  over  the 
heads  of  the  native  farmers.  He,  with  several  othei-s  I  could  name,  some 
of  whom  have  come  to  an  unhappy  end,  counting  the  natives  as  their 
slaves  and  their  prey,  disposed  without  scruple  of  them  and  all  that  they 
had,  just  as  it  suited  their  own  interest  or  convenience,  reckless  of  the 
wrongs  and  misery  they  inflicted  on  these  simple  unresisting  jieople. 
They  were  removed  from  their  comfortable  houses  and  farms  in  the  interior, 
to  spots  on  the  sea  shore,  to  make  room  for  the  new-comers  with  their 
flocks  and  herds,  and  to  get  their  living,  and  pay  exorbitant  rents,  by 
cultivating  kelp,  and  deep-sea  fishing.  In  these  pursuits  their  persevering 
courage  and  industry  enabled  them  to  surmount  appalling  difticulties, 
though  with  much  suffering  and  waste  of  health  and  life.  The  tacksman 
set  up  for  a  fish  curer  and  rented  the  sea  to  them  at  his  own  pleasure,  fur- 
nishing V)oat8  and  implements  at  an  exorbitant  price,  while  he  took  their 
fish  at  his  own  price,  and  thus  got  them  drowned  in  debt  and  consequent 
bondage,  from  which,  by  failures  both  in  the  kelp  and  fishing  trades,  they 
have  never  been  able  to  relieve  themselves.  Seeing  this,  and  thinking 
he  could,  after  taking  their  all  for  thirty  years,  put  their  little  holdings, 
improved  by  their  exertions,  to  a  more  profitable  use,  this  gentleman 
humanely  resolved  to  extirpate  them,  root  and  branch,  after  he  had  sucked 
their  blood  and  peeled  their  flesh,  till  nothing  more  could  be  got  by  them, 
and  regardless  of  the  misery  to  which  he  doomed  them,  how  they  might 


56 

fare,  or  which  way  they  were  to  turn  to  procure  a  subsistence.  To  emi- 
grate they  were  unable,  and  to  repair  to  the  manufacturing  towns  in  quest 
of  employment,  when  such  multitudes  are  in  destitution  already,  would 
afford  no  hope  of  relief.  Where,  then,  were  they  to  find  refuge  1  To  this 
question,  so  often  urged  by  the  poor  out-casts  in  Sutherlandshire,  the 
general  answer  of  their  tyrants  was,  "let  them  go  to  hell,  but  they  must 
leave  our  boundaries." 

Human  patience  and  endurance  have  limits,  and  is  it  to  be  wondered 
at  that  poor  creatures  driven  to  such  extremities  should  be  tempted  to  turn 
on  their  ojipressors,  and  violate  the  letter  of  the  law  ?  Hence  it  is  true 
that  the  poor  people  gathered,  and  seized  and  burned  the  paper  which 
appeared  as  a  death  warrant  to  them  (and  may  in  one  v/slj  or  other  prove  so 
to  them)  and  did  their  utmost,  though  without  much  personal  violence,  to 
scare  away  their  enemies,  and  though  law  may  punish,  will  humanity  not 
sympathize  with  them  ?  The  story,  as  represented  in  the  papers,  of  severe 
beating  and  maltreatment  of  the  officers  is,  to  say  the  least,  a  gross  exag- 
geration, The  intention,  however  indefensible  on  the  score  of  law,  was 
merely  to  intimidate,  not  to  injure.  The  military,  it  seems,  is  now  to  be 
called  upon  to  wind  up  the  drama  in  the  way  of  their  profession,  I  pray  it 
may  not  end  tragically.  If  the  sword  be  unsheathed  at  Cape  Wrath,  let 
the  southrons  look  out !  If  the  poor  and  destitute — made  so  by  injustice 
— are  to  be  cut  down  in  Sutherland,  it  may  only  be  the  beginning ;  there 
are  plenty  of  poor  and  destitute  elsewhere,  whose  numbers  the  landlords, 
to  save  their  monopoly,  might  find  it  convenient  to  curtail ;  and  to  do 
which  they  only  want  a  colourable  pretext.  Meanwhile,  I  shall  watch  the 
progress  of  the  affair  at  Durness,  and  beg  to  call  on  all  rightly  constituted 
minds,  to  sympathize  with  the  distress  of  the  unfortunate  people. 
i 


LETTER    XXIII. 

Sir, — Having  lately  exposed  the  partial  and  exaggerated  statements  in 
the  Inverness  Courier,  (the  organ  of  the  oppressors  of  Sutherlandshire,) 
my  attention  is  again  called  to  subsequent  paragraphs  in  that  paper,  and 
which  I  feel  it  my  duty  to  notice. 

Since  my  last,  I  have  received  communications  from  correspondents 
on  whom  I  can  rely,  wliich,  I  need  scarcely  say,  give  a  very  different 
colour  to  the  proceedings  from  what  appears  in  the  Courier,  emanating, 
as  it  evidently  does,  from  the  party  inflicting  the  injury.  The  first  notice 
in  that  paper  represents  the  conduct  of  the  poor  natives  in  the  blackest 
aspect,  while  the  latter,  that  of  the  27th  October,  is  calculated  to  mislead 
the  public  in  another  way,  by  representing  them  as  sensible  of  their  errors, 
and  acknowledging  the  justice  of  the  severities  practiced  upon  them. 

The  Courier  says,  "  We  are  happy  to  learn  that  the  excitement  that  led 
to  the  disturbance  by  Mr.  Anderson's  tenants  in  Durness  has  subsided, 
and  that  the  people  are  quiet,  peaceful,  and  fully  sensible  of  the  illegality 


Of 

and  unjustifiable  nature  of  their  proceedings.  The  Sheriflf  addressed  the 
people  in  a  powerful  speech,  with  an  effect  which  had  the  best  conse- 
quences. They  soon  made  written  communications  to  the  Sheriff  and  Mr. 
Anderson,  stating  their  contrition,  and  soliciting  forgiveness ;  promising 
to  remove  voluntarily  in  May  next,  if  permitted  in  the  meantime  to  remain 
and  occupy  their  houses.  An  agreement  on  this  footing  was  then 
happily  accomplished,  which,  while  it  vindicates  the  law,  tempers  justice 
with  mercy.  Subsequently,  Mr.  Naj^ier,  Advocate-Depute,  arrived  at  the 
place  to  conduct  the  investigation,"  tkc. 

Latterly  the  Cowier  says, 

"  The  clergyman  of  the  parish  convinced  the  people,  and  Mr.  Lumsden, 
the  Sheriff,  addressed  them  on  the  serious  nature  of  their  late  proceedings; 
this  induced  them  to  petition  Mr.  Anderson,  their  landlord,  asking  his 
forgiveness ;  and  he  has  allowed  them  to  remain  till  May  next.  We  trust 
•something  will  be  done  in  the  interval  for  the  poor  homeless  Mountaineers." 
This  is  the  subdued,  though  contemptuous  tone  of  the  Courier,  owing 
doubtless  to  the  noble  and  impartial  conduct  of  the  Advocate- Depute,  Mr. 
Najiier,  who  in  conducting  the  investigation,  found,  notwithstanding  the 
virulent  and  railing  accusations  brought  by  those  who  had  driven  the  poor 
jfcople  to  madness,  that  their  conduct  was  very  different  from  what  it  had 
been  represented.  The  Courier,  in  his  first  article,  called  for  the  military 
"to  vindicate  the  law"  V)y  shedding  the  blood  of  the  Sutherland  rebels; 
but  now  calls  them  *'  poor  homeless  mountaineers."  His  crocodile  tears 
accord  ill  with  the  former  virulence  of  him  and  his  employers,  and  we 
have  to  thank  Mr.  Napier  for  the  change.  The  local  authorities  who 
assisted  at  the  precognition  did  the  utmost  that  malice  could  suggest  to 
exa.sperate  that  gentleman  against  the  people,  but  he  went  through  the 
case  in  his  own  way,  probing  it  to  the  botfx)m,  and  qualifying  their  rage 
by  his  coolness  and  im})artiality. 

Notwithstanding  a  series  of  injuries  and  provocations  unparalleled,  this 
is  the  first  time  the  poor  Sutherlandei-s,  so  famous  in  their  happier  days 
for  defending  their  country  and  its  laws,  have  been  led  to  transgress;  and 
1  liope  when  the  day  of  trial  comes,  the  very  worst  of  them  will  be  found 
"more  sinned  against  than  sinning."  It  is  to  be  lamented  that  the  law 
has  been  violated,  but  still  more  to  be  lamented  that  all  the  best  attributes 
of  our  common  nature — all  the  principles  of  justice,  mercy,  antl  religion, 
havabeen  violated  by  the  oppressors  of  this  j)eople,  under  colour  of  law  ! 
The  poor  victims,  simple,  ignorant,  and  heart-broken,  have  men  of  wealth, 
talent,  and  influence,  fortlieir  opponents  and  accusers — the  very  individu- 
als who  have  been  the  autiiors  of  all  their  woes,  are  now  their  vindictive 
jKr.secutors — against  the  combination  of  landlorths,  factors,  and  other 
officials,  there  is  nf>ne  to  espoust;  tlieir  cause.  One  of  my  correspondentH 
Siiys,  the  only  gentleman  who  seemed  to  take  any  interest  in  the  people's 
cause  was  ordered  by  the  Sheriff  Luujsden  out  of  his  presence.  Another 
says,  no  wonder  the  Sheriff  was  so  disposed,  foi  when  he  arrived  in  Dor- 
noch, the  officials  represented  the  people  as  savages  in  a  state  of  rebellion, 
so  that  he  at  first  declined  proceeding  without  military  protection,  and  in 
consequence,  a  detachment  of  the  o3rd  Regiment  in  Edinburgh  Castle  re- 


58 

ceived  ordei*s  to  march  ;  and  could  a  steamboat  have  been  procured  at  the 
time,  which  providence  prevented,  one  liundred  rank  and  file  would  have 
been  landed  on  the  shores  of  Sutherlandshire,  and,  under  the  direction  of 
the  people's  enemies,  would  probably  have  stained  their  arms  with  innocent 
blood  !  But  before  a  proper  conveyance  could  be  obtained,  the  order  was 
countermanded,  the  Sheriff  having  found  cause  to  alter  his  opinion ;  the 
people,  though  goaded  into  momentary  error,  became  immediately  amenable 
to  his  advice.  The  clergyman  of  the  parish,  also,  made  himself  useful  on 
this  occasion,  threatening  the  people  with  punishment  here  and  hereafter,  if 
they  refused  to  bow  their  necks  to  the  oppressor.  According  to  him,  all  the 
evils  inflicted  upon  them  were  ordained  of  God,  and  for  their  good,  where- 
as any  opposition  on  their  part  proceeded  from  the  devil,  and  subjected 
them  to  just  punishment  here,  and  eternal  torment  hereafter.  Christ 
says  "  Of  how  much  more  value  is  a  man  than  a  sheep  1"  The  Sutherland 
clergy  never  preached  this  doctrine,  but  practically  the  reverse.  They 
literally  prefer  flocks  of  sheep  to  their  human  flocks,  and  lend  their  aid  to 
every  scheme  for  extirpating  the  latter  to  make  room  for  the  former. 
They  find  their  account  in  leaguing  with  the  oppressors,  following  up  the 
threatenings  of  fire  and  sword  by  the  Sheriff,  with  the  terrors  of  the 
bottomless  pit.  They  gained  their  end ;  the  people  prostrated  themselves 
at  the  feet  of  their  oppressors,  "whose  tender  mercies  are  cruel."  The 
Courier  says,  "the  law  has  thus  been  vindicated."  Is  it  not  rather  injus- 
tice and  tyranny  that  have  been  vindicated,  and  the  people  make  a  prey? 
When  they  were  ordered,  in  the  manner  prescribed,  to  put  themselves 
entirely  in  the  wrong,  and  beg  mercy,  they  were  led  to  believe  this  would 
procure  a  full  pardon  and  kinder  treatment.  But  their  submission  wa» 
immediately  followed  up  by  the  precognition,  in  which,  as  I  said  before, 
every  means  was  used  to  criminate  them,  and  exaggerate  their  offence,  and 
it  depends  on  the  view  the  Lord  Advocate  may  be  induced  to  take,  what 
is  to  be  their  fate.  One  thing  is  certain,  Mr.  Anderson  and  his  colleagues 
will  be  content  with  nothing  short  of  their  expatriation,  either  to  Van 
Dieman's  Land  or  the  place  the  clergy  consigned  them  to,  he  cares  not 
which.  For  the  mercy  which,  as  the  Courier  says,  has  been  tempered  with 
justice,  of  allowing  the  people  to  possess  their  houses  till  May,  while  their 
crop  had  been  lost  by  the  bad  weather,  or  destroyed  by  neglect  during  the 
disturbance,  they  are  mainly  indebted  to  Mr.  Napier.  Anderson  found 
himself  shamed  into  a  consent,  which  he  would  otherwise  never  have  given. 
God  knows,  their  miserable  allotments,  notwithstanding  the  toil  and  money 
they  have  expended  on  them,  are  not  worth  contending  for,  did  the  i)oor 
creatures  know  where  to  go  when  banished,  but  this  with  their  attachment 
to  the  soil,  makes  them  feel  it  like  death,  to  think  of  removing. 

Anderson  craftily  turned  this  feeling  to  his  advantage,  for,  though  he 
obtained  the  degrees  of  ejectment  in  April,'  he  postponed  their  execution 
till  the  herring  fishery  was  over,  in  order  to  drain  every  shilling  the  poor 
people  had  earned,  exciting  the  hope,  that  if  they  paid  up,  they  would  be 
allowed  to  remain  !  The  Courier  hopes  "  something  will  be  done  for  the 
poor  mountaineers J^  O  my  late  happy,  highminded  countrymen  is  it 
come  to  this  1    Represented  as  wild  animals  or  savages,  and  hunted  accord- 


59 

ingly  in  your  own  native  straths,  so  often  defended  l>y  the  sinews  and 
blood  of  your  vigorous  ancestors ! 

Surely,  your  case  must  arouse  the  sympathy  of  generous  Britons,  other- 
wise the  very  stones  will  cry  out !  Surely,  there  is  still  so  much  virtue 
remaining  in  the  country  that  your  wrongs  will  be  made  to  ring  in  the 
ears  of  your  oppressors,  till  they  are  obliged  to  hide  their  heads  for  very 
shame,  and  tardy  justice  at  length  overtake  them  in  the  shape  of  public 
indignation. 


LETTER    XXIV. 

Sir, — Since  my  last  communication  was  written,  I  have  received  letters 
from  several  correspondents  in  the  north,  and,  as  I  intimated,  now  proceed 
to  lay  a  portion  of  their  contents  before  the  public.  Much  of  the  infor- 
mation I  have  received  must  be  suppressed  from  prudential  considerations. 
Utter  ruin  would  instantly  overtake  the  individual,  especially  if  an  official, 
who  should  dare  to  throw  a  gleam  oflight  on  the  black  deeds  going  on,  or 
give  a  tongue  to  the  people's  wrongs;  besides,  the  language  of  some  of  the 
letters  is  too  strong  and  justly  indignant,  to  venture  its  publication,  lest 
I  might  involve  myself  and  others  in  the  toils  of  law,  with  the  meshes  of 
which  I  am  but  little  acquainted ;  hence  n)y  correspondence  must 
generally  sj)eaking,  be  suppressed  or  emasculated.  From  the  mass  of 
evidence  received,  I  am  fully  satisfied  that  the  feeble  resistance  to  the 
instruments  of  cruelty  and  oppressions  at  Durness,  and  which  was  but  a 
solitary  and  momentary  outbreak  of  feeling,  owes  it  importance  as  a  riot 
entirely  to  the  inventive  and  colouring  talents  of  the  correspondent  of  the 
Invei-ness  Cmnier.  One  of  my  correspondents  says,  **  this  affray  must  be  a 
preconcerted  one  on  the  part  of  the  authorities;"  another  says  "the  Advo- 
cate-Depute asked  me,  why  did  the  Duke  of  Sutherland's  tenants  join  Mr. 
Andersons's  tenants;  my  reply  was  (which  he  allowed  to  be  true)  that  when 
Anderson  would  remove  his,  he  and  his  either  hand  neighbours  would  di- 
rectly use  their  influenc  to  get  the  duke's  small  tenants  removed  likewise, 
as  they  hate  now  to  see  a  poor  man  at  all,  and  if  any  of  the  tenants 
would  ofler  to  say  so  much,  they  would  not  be  believed  ;  this  is  the  way 
the  offspring  of  the  once  valiant  M'Kay'sare  now  used,  their  condition  is 
beyond  what  a  pen  can  describe,  but  we  are  here  afraid  to  corres[)ond  with 
such  a  character  as  you  :  if  it  was  known,  we  would  bo  ruined  at  once." 
Another  says  "  there  was  not  a  pane  of  glass,  a  door,  or  railing,  or  any 
article  of  furniture  broken  within  or  without  the  inn  at  Durine,  nor 
as  much  as  a  hair  of  the  head  of  a  Sheriff,  Fiscal,  or  Constable, 
touched.  If  it  was  the  Sheriff  or  Fiscal  Eraser  who  published  the 
first  article,  titled  Durness  Riot,  in  the  Inverness  Courier^  indeed  they 
should  be  ashamed  of  their  unpardonable  conduct;*'  another  says 
'* after  all  their  ingenuity  it  was  only  one  Judas  they  made  in  Durness, 
and  if  there  was  any  one  guilty  of  endeavouring  to  create  disturtmncc  it 


60 

was  himself.  Therefore,  \vc  may  call  him  DonaklJudas  il/ac  a^?-  Diohhail 
feav-casaid  nam  breugnn,  and  the  authorities  should  consider  what  credence 
his  evidence  deserved  in  criminating  the  people  he  was  trying  to  mislead." 
Another  correspondent  says  "Fraser  the  Fiscal  (a  countryman  himself, 
but  an  enemy  as  all  renegades  are)  inserted  a  most  glaring  and  highly 
coloured  mis-statement  in  the  Inverness  Courier^  and  is  ever  on  the  alert  to 
publish  anything  that  might  serve  his  employers  and  injure  his  poor  coun- 
trymen;" another  says  "  The  Fiscal  and  Sheriff  Lumsden  were  very  severe 
on  the  people  before  the  Advocate  Depute,  but  after  he  had  gone  through 
the  business  they  found  it  prudent  to  alter  their  tone  a  good  deal,"  he 
adds  '•  I  incurred  the  Fiscal's  displeasure /or  not  cjivinfj  tht  evidence  he 
wanted  for  condemning  the  'people,  and  to  punish  me,  he  would  pay  me 
only  10s.  for  attending  the  precognition  five  days  and  a  night.  But  when 
the  Duke  comes  I  will  lay  the  case  before  him  and  tell  him  how  Fraser 
was  so  anxious  to  get  the  people  into  a  scrape.  He  is  a  little  worth  gen- 
tleman." The  conduct  of  the  Fiscal  requires  no  comment,  and  his,  it  is 
said,  is  the  Courier^s  authority  for  its  mis-statements.  The  plan  of  the 
persecutors  is  not  only  to  ruin  and  expel  the  natives,  by  any  and  every 
means,  but  to  deprive  them  of  public  sympathy,  by  slandering  their 
character,  belying  tlieir  actions,  and  harassing  them  in  every  possible  way, 
so  as  to  make  them  willing  to  leave  their  native  soil  before  a  regular 
authorised  enquiry  takes  place,  which  would  (in  case  their  victims  remain 
•  on  the  spot,  not  only  expose  their  nefarious  deeds,  but  also  lead  the  way 
to  a  regular  law  for  obliging  them  to  provide  in  some  way  for  the  poor  they 
have  made. 

These  are  now  the  two  objects  of  their  fears,  first,  lest  they  should  be 
shown  uj),  and  secondly,  that  a  real — and  not,  as  hitherto,  a  sham — poor- 
law  should  be  established,  to  make  them  contribute  to  relieve  the  misery 
they  have  so  recklessly  and  wickedly  created.  With  these  preliminaries. 
I  present  you  a  large  extract  verbatim,  from  the  letter  of  a  gentleman,  with 
whom,  though  I  know  his  highly  respectable  connexions,  I  am  personally 
unacquainted.  Coming  evidently  from  a  person  of  education  and  charac- 
ter, it  seems  justly  entitled  to  the  consideration  of  all  who  are  pleased  to 
interest  themselves  in  the  woes  and  wrongs  of  Sutherland,  and  the  out- 
rages there  ofiered  to  our  common  humanity  : — 

"  You  are  aware  that  Anderson  was  a  pretty  considerable  speculator  in 
his  time,  (but  not  so  great  a  speculator  as  *  "'^  "^^j)  extensively  engaged  in 
the  white  and  herring  fishings,  at  the  time  he  held  out  the  greatest  induce- 
ments to  the  poor  natives  who  were  expelled  from  other  places  in  the 
parish,  who  came  and  built  little  huts  on  his  farm  and  were  entirely 
dependent  on  their  fishings  and  earnings  with  him.  In  this  humble 
sphere  they  were  maintaining  themselves  and  families,  until  God  in  just 
retribution  turned  the  scales  upon  Anderson ;  his  speculations  proved 
unsuccessful,  he  lost  his  shipping,  and  his  cash  was  fast  following ;  he 
broke  down  his  herring  establishments,  and  so  the  poor  fishermen  had  to 
make  the  best  of  it  they  could  with  other  curers.  Anderson  now  began  to 
turn  his  attention  to  sheep  farming,  and  removed  a  great  many  of  his 
former  tenants  and  fishermen  -.however,  he  knew  little  or  nothing  of  the 


61 

details  of  sheep  farming,  and  was  entirely  guided  by  the  advices  of  his 
either  hand  neighboui*s,  Alex.  Clark  of  Erriboll  and  John  Scobe  of 
Koldale  (both  sheep  farmers) ;  and  it  is  notorious  that  it  was  at  the  insti- 
gation of  these  creatures  that  he  adopted  such  severe  measures  against 
those  remaining  of  his  tenants — but,  be  this  as  it  may,  this  last  summer 
when  the  whole  male  adult  population  were  away  at  the  fishing  in  Wick, 

he  employed  a  fellow  of  the  name  of  C 1  to  summon  and  frighten 

the  jKJor  women  in  the  absence  of  their  husbands.  The  proceeding  was 
both  cowardly  and  illegal ;  however,  the  women  (acting  as  it  can  be  proved 

upon    C I's    own   suggestion  !)  congregated,    lighted    a   fire,    laid 

bands  on  C 1  and  compelled  him  to  consign  his  papers  to  the  flames  I 

Anderson  immediately  reported  the  case  to  the  Dornoch  law-mongers,  who 
smelling  a  job,  dispatched  their  officer; — off  he  set  to  Durness  as  big  as  a 
mountain,  and  together  with  one  of  Andei-son's  shepherds  proceeded  to 

finish  what  C 1   had  begun :  however,   he   '  reckoned  without  his 

host,'  for  ere  he  got  half  through,  the  women  fell  in  hot  love  with  him 
also — and  embraced  him  so  cordially,lthat  he  left  with  them  his  waterproof 
Mackintosh,  and  '  cut '  to  the  tune  of  *'  Caberfeidh.'*  No  sooner  had  he 
arrived  in  Dornoch,  than  the  gentlemen  there  concluded  that  they  them- 
selves had  been  insulted  and  ill-used  by  proxy  in  Durness.  Shortly  after- 
wards they  dispatched  the  same  oflicer  and  a  messenger- at-arms,  with 
instructions  to  i-aise  a  trusty  party  by  the  way  to  aid  them.  They  came 
by  Tongue,  went  down  to  Farr  on  the  Saturday  evening,  raised  Donald 
M*Kay,  pensioner,  and  other  two  old  veterans,  whom  they  sent  off  before 
them  on  the  Sabbath  incog. ;  however,  they  only  advanced  to  the  ferry  at 
Hope  when  they  were  told  that  the  Durness  people  were  fully  prepared  to 
give  them  a  warm  reception,  so  they  went  no  further,  but  returned  to 
Dornoch,  and  told  there  a  doleful  Don  Quixote  tale.  Immediately  there- 
after, a  'council  of  war'  was  held,  and  the  Sheriff-substitute,  together  with 
the  fiscal  and  a  band  of  fourteen  special  constables  marched  off  to  Durness. 
Before  they  arrived  the  people  heard  of  their  approach,  and  consulted 
among  themselves  what  had  best  be  done  (the  men  were  by  this  time  all 
returned  home.)  They  allowed  the  whole  party  to  pass  through  the 
parish  till  they  reached  the  inn;  this  was  on  a  Saturday  evening  about 
eight  or  nine  o'clock; — tlie  men  of  the  parish  to  the  amount  of  four 
dozen  called  at  the  inn,  and  wanted  to  have  a  conference  with  the  Sheriff, 
this  was  refused  to  them.  They  then  respectfully  requested  an  assurance 
from  the  sherifl  that  they  would  not  be  interfered  with  during  the  Sabbath, 
this  was  likewise  refused.  Then  the  people  got  a  little  exasperated,  and, 
determined  in  the  first  place  on  depriving  the  sheriff  of  his  sting,  they  took 
his  constables  one  by  one,  and  turned  them  out  of  the  liouse  minus  their 
batons.  There  was  not  the  least  injury  done,  or  violence  shewn  to  the 
persons  of  any  of  the  party.  The  natives  now  made  their  way  to  the 
sheriff's  room  and  began  to  dictate  (!)  to  him;  however,  as  they  could 
not  get  him  to  accede  to  their  terms,  they  ordered  liim  to  march  off; 
which,  after  some  persuasion  ho  did ;  they  laid  no  hands  on  liim  or  the 
fiscal  And,  to  show  their  civility,  they  actually  harnessed  the  horses  for 
them,  and  escorted  them  beyond  the  precincts  of  the  parish  !  1 1      The 


62 

affair  now  assumed  rather  an  alarming  aspect.  The  glaring  and  highly 
coloured  statement  referred  to,  appeared  in  the  Inveimess  Courier,  and 
soon  found  its  way  into  all  the  provincial  and  metro])olitan  prints;  the 
parties  referred  to  w^ere  threatened  with  a  military  force.  The  Duke  of 
Sutherland  was  stormed  on  all  hands  with  letters  and  petitions.  The 
matter  came  to  the  ears  of  the  Lord  Advocate.  Mr.  Napier,  the  Depute- 
Advocate,  was  sent  from  Auld  Reekie,  and  the  whole  affair  investigated 
before  him  and  the  Sheriff,  and  Clerk  and  Fiscal  of  the  County.  How 
this  may  ultimately  terminate  I  cannot  yet  say,  but  one  thing  is  certain,  the 
investigators  have  discovered  some  informality  in  the  proceedings  on  the 
part  of  the  petty  lawyers,  which  has  for  the  present  suspended  all  further 
procedure !  I  am  glad  to  understand  that  the  Duke  of  Sutherland 
expresses"*great  sympathy  with  the  poor  people.  Indeed  I  am  inclined 
to  give  his  Grace  credit  for  good  intentions,  if  he  but  knew  how  his 
people  are  harassed,  but  this  is  religiously  concealed  from  him. 

I  live  at  some  distance  from  Tongue,  but  I  made  myself  sure  of  the 
certainty  of  the  following  extraordinary  case  which  could  have  occurred 
nowhere  but  in  Sutherland. 

The  present  factor  in  Tongue  is  from  Edinburgh. — This  harvest,  a 
brother  of  his  who  is  a  clerk,  or  something  in  that  city,  came  down  to 
pay  him  a  visit;  they  went  out  a-shooting one  day  in  September,  but  could 
kill  no  birds.  They,  however,  determined  to  have  some  sport  before  return- 
ing home;  so,  falling  in  with  a  flock  of  goats  belonging  to  a  man  of  the 
name  of  Manson,  and  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  the  man's  own  house, 
they  set  two,  and  after  firing  a  number  of  ineffectual  shots,  succeeded  at 
length  in  taking  down  two  of  the  goats,  which  they  left  on  the  ground ! 
Satisfied  and  delighted  with  this  manly  sport  they  returned  to  Tongue. 
And  next  day  when  called  upon  by  the  poor  man  who  owned  the  goats, 
and  told  they  were  all  he  had  to  pay  his  rent  with,  this  exemplary 
factor  said  to  him,  'he  did  not  care  should  he  never  pay  his  rent,' — *he 
was  only  sorry  he  had  not  proper  ammunition  at  the  time,' — as  '  he  would 
not  have  left  one  of  them  alive ! ! !'  Think  you,  would  the  Duke  tolerate 
such  conduct  as  this,  or  what  would  he  say  did  the  fact  come  to  his  ears'? 
As  Burns  says  :— 

"  This  is  a  sketch  of  H h's  way, 

Thus  does  he  slaughter,  kill,  and  slay, 
And  's  weel  paid  for  't." 

The  poor  man  durst  not  whisper  a  complaint  for  this  act  of  brutal 
despotisuj ;  but  I  respectfully  ask,  will  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  tolerate 
such  conduct *?  I  ask  will  such  conduct  be  tolerated  by  the  legislature? 
Will  Fiscal  Fraser  and  the  Dornoch  law-mongers  smell  this  job  1 


03 

LETTER    XXV. 

Sir, — Having  done  my  best  to  bring  the  wrongs  of  the  Sutherlanders 
in  general,  and,  latterly,  those  of  Mr.  Anderson's  tenantry  in  particular, 
under  the  public  eye  in  your  valuable  columns,  I  beg  leave  to  close  my 
correspondence  for  the  present,  with  a  few  additional  facts  and  observa- 
tions. Before  doing  so,  however,  1  must  repeat  my  sense — in  which  I  am 
confident  my  countrymen  will  participate — of  your  great  kindness  in  allow- 
ing me  such  a  vehicle  as  your  excellent  paper  through  which  to  vent  our 
complaints  and  proclaim  our  wrongs.  I  also  gratefully  acknowledge  the 
disinterested  kindness  of  another  individual,  whose  name  it  is  not  now 
necessary  to  mention,  who  has  assisted  me  in  revising  and  preparing  my 
letters  for  the  press.     I  hope  such  friends  will  have  their  reward. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  spin  out  the  story  of  the  Durness  Riot  (as  it  is 
called)  any  longer.  It  evidently  turns  out  what  I  believed  it  to  be  from 
the  beginning — a  humbug  scheme  for  further  oppressing  and  destroying 
the  i>eople ;  carrying  out,  by  the  most  wicked  and  reckless  means,  the 
long  prevailing  system  of  expatriation,  and,  at  the  same  time,  by  gross 
misrepresentations,  depri^4ng  them  of  that  public  sympathy  to  w^hich  their 
protracted  sufferings  and  present  misery  give  them  such  strong  claims.  In 
my  latest  correspondence  from  that  quarter  the  following  facts  are  con- 
tained, which  further  justify  the  previous  remarks,  viz  : — 

A  gentleman  who  makes  a  conspicuous  figure  in  the  proceedings  against 
the  people,  is  law-agent  of  Mr.  Anderson,  the  lessee,  from  whose  property 

the  poor  crofters  were  to  be  ejected  ;  and  C 1,  the  first  officer  sent 

to  Durness,  was  employed  by  them.     This  C 1  was  an  unqualified 

officer,  but  used  as  a  convenient  tool  by  his  employei-s,  and  it  was  actually, 
as  I  am  assured,  this  man  who  advised  or  suggested  to  the  poor  women 
and  boys,  in  absence  of  the  male  adults,  to  kindle  the  fire,  and  lay  hold  on 
him,  and  compel  him  to  consign  his  papers  to  the  flames  I — acting  doubt- 
less under  the  directions  of  his  employers. 

The  next  emissary  sent  was  an  qualified  officer ;  qualified  by  having 

served  an  apprenticeship  as  a  thief-catcher  and  w chaser  in  the  police 

establishment  of  Edinburgh,  who,  when  he  came  in  contact  with  the  vir- 
tuous Durness  women,  behaved  as  ho  was  wont  to  do  among  those  of 
Anchor  Close  and  Halkerston's  Wynd  ;  and  I  am  sorry  to  say  some  of  the 
former  were  inhumanly  and  shamefully  dealt  with  by  him. —  See  Inveitiess 
Conner  of  17th  November.  And  here  I  am  happy  to  })e  able  in  a  great 
degree  to  exonemte  that  journal  from  the  charge  brought  against  it  in 
former  letters.  The  Editor  has  at  last  put  the  saddle  on  the  right  horse 
— namely,  his  first  informers,  the  advisers  and  actora  in  the  cruel  and 
vindictive  proceedings  against  the  poor  victims  of  opj)ression. 

It  is  lamentable  to  think  that  the  Sheriff-substitute  of  Sutherland  should 
arrive  in  Durness,  with  a  formidable  party  and  a  train  of  carts,  to  carry  off 
to  Dornoch  Jail  the  prisoners  he  intended  to  make,  on  the  Sal) hath -^ia t/ ! 
If  this  was  not  his  intention,  what  was  the  cause  of  the  resistance  and 
defeat  he  and  his  party  met  with  1  Just  this  (according  to  the  Courier 
and  my  own  corresjiondents),  that  he  would  not  consent  to  give  his  word 


64 

that  he  would  not  execute  his  warrant  on  the  Sabbath-day,  although  they 
were  willing  to  give  him  eveiy  assurance  of  peaceably  surrendering  on  the 
Monday  following.  Provoked  by  his  refusal,  the  men  of  Durness,  noted 
for  piety  as  well  as  forbearance,  chose  rather  to  break  the  laws  of  man  on 
the  Saturday,  than  see  the  laws  of  God  violated  in  such  a  manner  on  the 
Sabbath.  He  and  his  party,  who  had  bagpipes  playing  l:)efore  them  on 
leaving  Dornoch,  told  inquirers,  that  "they  were  going  to  a  wedding  in 
Durness."  It  was  rather  a  divorce  to  tear  the  people  away  from  their 
dearly-loved,  though  barren,  hills.  Under  all  the  circumstances,  many,  I 
doubt  not,  will  think  with  me  that  these  willing  emissaries  of  mischief  got 
better  treatment  than  they  deserved.  It  is  high  time  the  law-breaking 
and  law-wresting  petifoggers  of  Sutherlandshire  were  looked  after.  This 
brings  again  to  my  mind  the  goat-shooting  scene,  described  in  my  last, 
which  was  the  more  aggravated  and  diaV)olical  from  having  been  perpe- 
trated during  the  late  troubles,  and  while  a  military  force  was  hourly 
expected  to  cut  down  such  as  should  dare  to  move  a  finger  against  those 
in  authority ;  knowing  that,  under  these  circumstances,  no  complaints  of 
the  people  would  be  hearkened  to.  But  this  was  not  the  only  atrocity  of 
the  kind  that  took  place  in  the  country  at  this  time.  I  have  seen  a  letter 
from  a  respectable  widow  woman  residing  in  Blairmore,  parish  of  Rogart; 
to  her  son  in  Edinburgh,  which,  after  detailing  the  harassment  and  misery 
to  which  the  country  is  subject,  says — "  I  had  only  seven  sheej),  and  one 
of  Mr.  Cellar's  shepheids  drowned  five  af  them  in  Lojhsalchie,  along  with 
other  five  belonging  to  Donald  M*Kenzie ;  and  many  more,  the  property 
of  other  neighbours,  shared  the  same  fate.  We  could  not  get  so  much  as 
the  skins  of  them."  But  they  durst  not  say  one  word  about  it,  or  if  they 
did,  no  one  would  hearken  to  their  complaints.  God  alone  knows  how 
they  are  used  in  that  unfortunate  country,  and  he  will  avenge  it  in  bis  own 
time. 

A  correspondent  of  mine  says — ''  At  an  early  period  of  your  narrative, 
you  stated  that  the  natives  were  refused  employment  at  public  works,  even 
at  reduced  wages ;  but,  if  you  believe  me,  sir,  in  the  last  and  present 
year,  masons,  carpenters,  tfec,  were  brought  here  from  Aberdeenshire,  and 
employed  at  those  works,  while  equally  good,  if  not  better  native  trades- 
men were  refused,  and  obliged  to  go  idle.  This,  however,  was  not 
admitted  as  an  excuse  when  house-rtnt,  poll-tax,  or  road-money  was 
demanded,  but  the  most  summary  and  oppressive  means  were  used  for 
recovery.  They  have  been  paying  these  strangers  four  or  five  shillings 
a-day,  when  equally  good  workmen  among  the  natives  would  be  glad  of 
eighteen-pence  1" 

In  this  way,  the  money  drained  from  the  natives  in  the  most  ligorous 
manner,  is  paid  away  to  strangers  before  their  eyes,  while  they  themselves 
are  refused  permission  to  earn  a  share  of  it !  My  correspondent  adds — 
"  We  know  the  late  Duchess,  some  years  before  her  demise,  gave  orders 
(and  we  cannot  think  the  present  Duke  of  Sutherland  has  annidled  these 
orders)  that  no  stranger  should  be  employed,  while  natives  could  be  found 
to  execute  the  work.  But  it  seems  the  ofiicials,  and  their  under- strappers, 
can  do  what  they  please,  without  being  called  to  account,  and  this  is  but 


65 

one  instance  among  the  many  in  which  their  tyranny  and  injustice  is 
manifested."  Every  means,  direct  and  indirect,  are  used  to  discourage 
the  aborigines,  to  make  them  willing  to  fly  the  country,  or  be  content  to 
starve  in  it. 

May  I  not  ask,  will  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  never  look  into  the  state  of 
his  country?  Will  he  continue  to  suffer  such  treatment  of  the  peoj)le  to 
whom  he  owes  his  greatness ;  proceedings  so  hazardous  to  his  own  real 
interest  and  safety?  Is  it  not  high  time  that  that  illustrious  family  should 
institute  a  searching  inquiry  into  the  past  and  present  conduct  of  those 
who  have  wielded  their  power  only  to  abuse  it] 

Their  extensive  domains  are  now,  generally  speaking,  in  the  hands  of  a 
few  selfish,  ambitious  strangers,  who  would  laugh  at  any  calamity  that 
might  befall  them,  as  they  do  at  the  miseries  of  those  faithful  subjects 
whom  they  have  supplanted.  Many  of  these  new  tenants  have  risen  from 
running  about  with  hobnails  in  their  shoes,  and  a  colly-dog  behind  them, 
their  whole  wardrobe  being  on  their  back,  and  all  their  other  appoint- 
ments and  equipage  bearing  the  same  proportion — to  be  Esquires,  Jus- 
tices of  the  Peace,  and  gentlemjin  riding  in  cairiages,  or  on  blood-horses, 
and  living  in  splendid  mansions,  all  at  the  expense  of  his  Grace's  family, 
and  of  those  whom  they  have  despoiled  of  their  inheritance.  •  The  time 
may  come — I  see  it  approaching  already,  when  these  gentlemen  will  say  to 
his  Grace  *'  if  you  do  not  let  your  land  to  us  on  our  own  terms,  you  may 
take  it  and  make  the  best  of  it;  who  can  compete  with  us?"  This  will 
be  the  case,  es|>ecially  when  the  natives  are  driven  away,  and  the  compe- 
tition for  land,  caused  by  the  food  taxes,  comes  to  an  end.  Let  his  Grace 
consider  these  things,  and  no  longer  be  entirely  guided  by  the  counsels  of 
his  Ahithophel,  nor  adopt  the  system  of  Rehoboam  towards  the  race  of 
the  devoted  vassals  of  his  ancestors,  a  portion  of  whose  blood  runs  in  his 
veins. 

"  Woe  is  me?  the  possessoi^s  of  my  people  slay  them,  and  hold  them- 
selves not  guilty;"  and  they  that  sell  them  say,  "blessed  bo  the  Lord,  for 
I  am  rich;  and  their  own  shepherds  pity  them  not."  *'Let  me  mourn 
:ind  howl"  for  the  pride  of  Sutherland  is  spoiled! 

In  a  former  letter  I  put  the  question  to  the  Sutherland  clergy,  "of 
liow  much  more  value  is  a  man  than  a  sheep  ?"    No  reply  has  been  made. 

I  ask  again,  "you  that  have  a  thousand  scores  of  sheep  feeding  on  the 
straths  that  formerly  reared  tens  of  thousands  of  as  brave  and  virtuous 
men  as  Britain  could  boast  of,  ready  to  shed  their  blood  for  their  country 
or  their  chief ;  were  these  not  of  moi-e  value  than  your  animals,  your 
shepherds,  or  yourselves?  You  that  spend  your  ill-gotti?n  gains  in  riotous 
living,  in  hunting,  gaming,  and  debauchery,  of  how  much  more  value 
were  the  men  you  have  disjiersed,  mined,  and  tortured  out  of  exiHtence, 
than  you  and  your  base  companions  ?"  But  I  now  cease  to  unpack  my 
heart  with  words,  and  take  leave  of  the  subject  for  the  present ;  assuring 
my  kind  correspondents,  that  their  names  will  never  be  divulged  by  me, 
and  pledging  myself  to  continue  ex|x>sing  oppi*e88ion  so  long  as  it  exists 
in  my  native  country. 

In  conclusion,  I  implore  the  Qovemment  to  make  inquiry  into  the  con- 

E 


66 

dition  of  this  part  of  the  empire,  and  not  look  lightly  over  the  outrooting 
of  a  brave  and  loyal  people,  and  the  razing  to  the  ground  of  that 
important  portion  of  the  national  bulwarks,  to  gratify  the  cupidity  of  a 
few,  to  whose  character  neither  bravery  nor  good  feeling  can  be  attri- 
buted. 

Yours,  (fcc, 

DONALD    M'LEOD. 


APPENDIX, 


During  the  publication  of  the  foregoing  series  of  lettere  in  the  Chroni- 
cle, I  have  received  a  very  great  number  of  letters,  all  tending  to  establish 
and  illustrate,  and  in  no  instance  to  contradict,  the  facts  adduced.  Much 
of  this  correspondence  is  valuable  from  being  well  written,  and  containing 
the  graphic  descriptions  of  eye  witnesses.  I  regret,  therefore,  that  the 
limits  to  which  I  had  resolved  and  arranged  to  confine  the  size  of  this 
pamphlet,  will  admit  of  my  giving  at  present  but  a  very  small  selection  of 
this  large  and  daily  increasing  mass  of  corroborative  evidence.  This  is 
also  partly  caused  by  the  space  unavoidably  occupied  in  the  recent  case  of 
the  so  called  Durness  riots,  as  well  as  by  my  personal  narrative,  on  neither 
of  which  I  had  originally  calculated. 

Should  the  present  publication  be  favourably  received,  I  may,  however, 
soon  follow  it  up  with  some  supplementary  matter,  especially  if  the  course 
of  proceedings  in  that  devoted  county  should  continue.  In  this  case  the 
correspondence  would  be  an  interesting  and  appropriate  adjunct.  I  have 
in  the  previous  pages  repeatedly  pledged  myself  to  keep  watch  and  ward, 
and  bring  the  wrongs  of  Sutherland  before  the  public  so  long  £is  I  can 
hold  a  pen,  or  obtain  a  medium  for  the  publication  of  them,  and,  with 
God's  help,  I  will  not  shrink  from  the  engagement. 

I  am  quite  aware  that  great  allowances  must  be  made,  by  readers  of 
education  and  literary  taste,  should  these  pages  be  honoured  with  a  perusal 
by  any  such.  I  am  not  capable  of  writing  to  please  critics;  I  had  a  higher 
aim,  and  my  success  in  Vjringing  out  the  case  of  my  countiymen  must  now 
stand  the  ordeal  of  public  opinion.  For  my  own  part,  zeal  and  faithful- 
ness are  all  I  lay  claim  to,  and  if  my  conscience  tells  me  true,  I  deserve 
to  have  these  conceded  to  me,  by  both  friends  and  enemies. 

There  are  three  remarkable  cases  in  the  corresi)ondence  which  I  cannot 
think  to  postpone;  the  first  is  that  of  Angus  Campbell,  who  possessed  a 
small  lot  of  land  in  the  parish  of  Rogart,  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood 
of  the  parish  minister,  the  Rev.  Mr.  M'Kenzie.  This  Rev.  Divine,  it 
seems,  had,  like  King  Ahab,  coveted  this  poor  man's  small  possession,  in 
addition  to  his  own  extensive  glebe,  and  obtained  a  grant  of  it  from  the 
factor.  Agus  Campbell,  besides  his  own  numerous  family,  was  the  only 
support  of  his  elder  brother,  who  had  laboured  for  many  years  under  a 
painful  and  lingering  disease,  and  had  spent  his  all  upon  physicians. 

Angus  having  got  notice  of  the  rev.  gentleman's  designs,  hud  a  memo- 
rial drawn  up  and  presented  to  her  Grace  the  late  Duchess,  who,  in 
answer,  gave  orders  to  the  factor  to  the  effect  that,  if  Angus  Campbell 
was  to  be  removed  for  the  convenience  of  Mr.  M'Kenzie,  he  should  be 
provided  with  another  lot  of  land  equally  as  good  as  the  one  he  i^sscssed. 
But,  like  all  the  other  good  promised  by  her  Grace,  this  was  disregarded 
as  soon  as  she  turned  her  back;  the  process  of  removal  wa«  carried  on, 
and  to  punish  Angus  for  having  applied  to  her,  he  was  dealt  with  in  the 


68 

following  manner,  as  stated  in  a  memorial  to  his  Grace  the  present  Duke, 
dated  30th  March,  1840. 

In  his  absence,  a  messenger-at-arms  with  a  party,  came  from  Dornoch 
to  his  house,  and  ejected  his  wife  and  family  ;  and  having  flung  out  their 
effects,  locked  the  doors  of  the  dwelling  house,  oflices,  ikc,  and  carried  the 
keys  to  the  safe  keeping  of  the  rev.  Mr.  M'Kenzie,  for  his  own  behoof. 
These  proceedings  were  a  sufficient  warning  to  all  neighbours  not  to  afford 
shelter  or  relief  to  the  victims ;  hence  the  poor  woman  had  to  wander 
about,  sheltering  her  family  as  well  as  she  could  in  severe  weather,  till 
her  husband's  arrival.  When  Angus  came  home,  he  had  recourse  to  an 
expedient  which  annoyed  his  reverence  very  much;  he  erected  a  booth 
on  his  own  ground  in  the  church -yard  and  on  the  tomb  of  his  father,  and 
in  this  solitary  abode  he  kindled  a  fire,  endeavouring  to  shelter  and  com- 
fort his  distressed  family,  and  showing  a  determination  to  remain,  notwith- 
standing the  wrath  and  threatenings  of  the  minister  and  factors.  But  as 
they  did  not  think  it  prudent  to  expel  him  thence  by  force,  they  thought 
of  a  stratagem  which  succeeded.  They  spoke  him  fair,  and  agreed  to 
allow  him  to  resume  his  former  possession,  if  he  would  pay  the  expenses 
(£4:  13s)  incurred  in  ejecting  him.  The  poor  man  consented,  but  no 
sooner  had  he  paid  the  money  than  he  was  turned  out  again,  and  good 
care  taken  this  time  to  keep  him  out  of  the  church-yard.  lie  had  then 
to  betake  himself  to  the  open  fields,  where  he  remained  with  his  family, 
till  his  wife  was  seized  with  an  alarming  trouble,  when  some  charitable 
friend  at  last  ventured  to  afford  him  a  temporary  covering :  but  no  dis- 
tress could  soften  the  heart  of  his  reverence,  so  as  to  make  him  relent. 

This  Campbell  is  a  man  of  good  and  inoffensive  character,  to  attest 
which  he  forwarded  a  certificate  numerously  signed,  along  with  his  memo- 
rial to  the  Duke,  but  received  for  answer,  that  as  the  case  was  settled  by 
his  factor,  his  Grace  could  not  interfere  ! 

The  second  case  is  that  of  an  aged  women  of  four  score — Isabella  Gra- 
ham, of  the  parish  of  Liirg,  who  was  also  ejected  with  great  cruelty.  She 
too  sought  redress  at  the  hands  of  his  Grace,  but  with  no  better  success. 
A  copy  of  the  substance  of  her  memorial,  which  was  backed  by  a  host  of 
certificates,  I  here  subjoin  : — 

"  That  your  Grace's  humble  applicant,  who  has  resided  with  her  hus- 
land  on  the  lands  of  Toroball  for  upwards  of  fifty-years,  has  been  removed 
from  her  possession  for  no  other  reason  than  that  Robert  Murray,  holding 
an  adjoining  lot,  coveted  her's  in  addition.  That  she  is  nothing  in  arrears 
of  her  rent,  and  hopes  f tom  your  Grace's  generosity  and  charitable  dispo- 
sition, that  she  will  be  permitted  to  remain  in  one  of  the  houses  belonging 
to  her  lot,  till  by  some  means  or  other  she  may  obtain  another  place  pre- 
vious to  the  coming  winter,  and  may  be  able  to  get  her  bed  removed  from 
the  open  field,  where  she  has  had  her  abode  during  the  last  Jlfteen  weeks/ 
Your  Grace's  humane  interposition  most  earnestly  but  respectfully 
implored  on  the  present  occasion,  and  your  granting  immediate  relief  will 
confirm  a  debt  of  never-ending  gratitude,  and  your  memorialist  shall  evei 
pray,  tkc" 


69 

[The  following  letter  will  explain  the  third  case  without  any  comment  ] 

December  8,   1841. 

Dear  Sir, — In  your  descriptions  of  the  inhuman  treatment  ,to  which 
the  poor  Sutherlanders  have  been,  and  are  still  exposed,  you  have  not 
hitherto  represented  the  unhallowed  proceedings  which  took  place  between 
five  and  six  years  ago,  in  the  "Episcopal  City  of  Dornoch,"  when  the 
parish  church  underwent  an  extensive  repair,  and  considerable  additions 
were  made  to  it  solely  for  the  pnvate  convenience  of  the  great  Sutherland 
family,  who  defi-ayed  the  whole  expense. 

During  the  progress  of  these  works,  the  church-yard,  in  which  the 
inhabitants  had  buried  their  dead  for  time  immemorial,  presented  the  most 
revolting  spectacle  imaginable,  being  strewed  with  human  bones,  skulls, 
and  pieces  of  coffins,  ttc,  exhumed  by  the  workmen  employed  in  digging 
for  the  foundations  of  the  new  additions  to  the  church,  in  levelling  the 
church-yard,  and  forming  new  and  enlarged  walks. 

These  relics  of  mortality  were  permitted  to  remain  exposed  to  view  long 
after  the  mason-work  was  completed,  and  an  entire  coffin  was  actually 
suffered  to  remain  on  the  surface  for  a  fortnight ;  while  the  tomb-stones 
which  indicated  their  resting  place,  bearing  the  endearing  inscriptions  of 
parents  and  children,  were  rudely  thrown  aside,  and  afterwards  not 
replaced  nor  preserved,  but  used,  it  is  said,  in  the  formation  of  a  new 
enclosure  wall.  It  is  true  indeed,  that  one  or  two  families  of  the  aristo- 
cracy there  threatened  resistance,  but  their  anger  was  appeased,  if  not 
their  vanity  gratified,  by  having  their  famify  tomb-stones  fixed  inside  one 
of  the  enti-ance  porches.  The  resident  inhabitants  of  Dornoch,  however, 
whose  progenitors  had  been  buried  tht^re  for  ages,  were  denied  even  the 
privilege  of  re-interring  the  remains  exhumed  by  workmen  brought  from 
a  distance  who  felt  no  sympathy  for  the  lacerated  feelings  of  the  commu- 
nity, and  refused  to  re-inter  the  human  bones;  alleging  that  their  instruc- 
tions were  limited  to  be  careful  in  preserving  and  delivering  to  the  agent 
of  the  Duke,  at  Golspie,  any  ancient  coins  or  other  relics  of  antiquity 
that  might  be  discovered  in  the  course  of  the  excavations.  Matters  con- 
tinued in  this  painful  position  till  a  new  church-yard  was  formed  at  a 
distance  from  the  town,  and  where,  ultimately,  the  surplus  earth,  <fec  ,  was 
removed  from  the  old  church-yard. 

Whether  it  was  that  th«;  inhabitants  disliked  the  idea  of  being  buried 
beyond  tho  sound  of  the  church  bell,  or  apart  from  their  relatives,  or  from 
whatever  other  cause,  it  is  certain  the  dying  made  it  a  last  special  request 
that  they  should  be  buried  in  some  of  the  neighbouring  parishes, — and 
thus  the  new  church-yard  was  likely  to  be  so  only  m  luxine.  Ultinmtely, 
however,  the  death  of  a  poor  person  at  a  distance  presented  an  opjiortunity 
of  providing  at  least  one  tenant,  and  since  that  i)eriod  the  «t1'ircli<>iis  to 
the  new  burying  ground  are  not  now  so  frequently  made. 

A  stranger  to  the  Sutherland  tyrannical  system  of  managenn  ml  m.iy  well 
exclaim  in  wonder  and  horror — Why  did  the  inhabitants  tolerate  such 
unhallowed  proceedings  1 — and    why    did   the  clergyman  of  the  parish 


70 

silently  witness  the  barbarous  treatment  of  the  remains  of  his  late 
parishioners]  Those,  however,  who  have  perused  your  graphic  account 
of  the  dreadful  sufferings  of  the  people,  will  be  at  no  loss  to  discover  from 
whence  arises  their  apparent  apathy. 

I  am,  (fee, 

A  Dornoch  Correspondent. 

To  Mr.  Donald  M'Leod. 


[The  following  letter  appeared  in  the  Edinburgh  Weekly  Chronicle  of  the 

18th  Dec,  1841.] 

Mr.  Editor, — Sir,  the  publication  of  Donald  M'Leod's  Letters,  while  it 
adds  to  your  high  reputation  for  independence,  reflects  in  a  double  sense 
on  a  brother  contemporary  in  the  North ;  and  I  must  say  with  Donald 
M'Leod,  that  the  Editor  recently  alluded  to  by  him  is  ever  to  be  found 
with  "the  powers  that  be."  He  catches  at  any  circumstance  that  affords 
an  opportunity  of  lauding  a  lord  or  a  laird,  and  he  is  always  laying  his 
blarney  on  their  doors  with  a  trowel;  while  his  negative  praise  of  the 
poorer  natives  is  disgusting  to  those  who  really  know  them. 

The  subject  of  Donald's  letters  leads  me  now  to  notice  a  removing, 
which  I  fear  is  too  truly  apprehended  at  the  term  of  Whitsunday,  in  one 
of  the  remote  glens  of  Ross-  shire  :  and  though  not  very  extensive,  it  is  of 
a  very  aggravated  nature,  inasmuch  as  the  victims  are  not  only  able  to 
keep  their  holdings,  but  are  men  of  the  most  spotless  diaracter.  These 
are  chiefly  the  M'Crie's  of  Corryvuik,  in  Strathconan,  a  county  now  pos- 
sessed by  one  of  the  wealthiest  men  in  Scotland,  but  who,  it  would  seem, 
feels  but  little  solicitude  about  this  portion  of  the  dependants  over  whom 
Providence  has  placed  him  as  guardian.  The  farm  has  been  occupied  for 
time  immemorial  by  the  progenitors  of  the  present  tenants,  all  of  whom 
have  lived  upon  it  from  infancy.  They  maintained  their  means  and  credit 
in  the  worst  of  times,  and  are  fully  stocked ; — they  have  never  been  in 
arrears  to  the  laird; — and  it  is  believed  that  their  names  were  never  called 
in  a  court  of  law,  either  as  suitors  or  defenders.  They  are  known  as  the 
quiet,  unobtrusive,  j^rimitive  people  of  Corryvuik ;  and  at  a  happier  period 
of  their  lives,  they  were  the  pride  of  their  proprietors  (the  ancient  family 
of  Fairburn),  though  they  now  feel,  that  the  chain  which  bound  them  to 
their  native  soil  and  chiefs  is  snapped  assunder  for  ever. 


,>A^.. 


MRS.  H.  BEECHER   STOWE. 


Madam, — I  would  wish  to  address  you  as  inoffensively  as  our  present 
position  before  the  public  can  admit  of.  Without  any  provocation  on  my 
part,  you  have  assailed  my  character  most  shamefully,  and  I  must  tell  you, 
that  though  a  humble  individual  who  has  devoted  much  of  his  time  and 
means  in  advocating  the  cause  and  righteous  claims  of  the  poor,  remon- 
strating with,  and  exposing  the  ungodly  dealings  of  the  rich  towards  them, 
unaided  as  I  am  by  classical  education,  or  the  smiles  of  fortune;  yet  I  con- 
sider my  reputation  and  character  as  a  narrator  of  unvarnished  facts,  equally 
as  sacred,  and  as  dear  to  me,  as  you  can  consider  your  own  as  an  accomplish- 
ed novelist  and  sophistical  adulator  of  the  oppressors  of  the  poor.  Taking 
the  advantage  of  your  auspicious  position  in  society;  surrounded  by  the 
beauties  of  English  aristocracy,  golden  diamond,  ducal  braclets,  glittering 
gold  soverigns,  fame,  favour  and  fortune,  thinking  the  whole  world  was 
bound  to  believe  whatever  you  would  say  or  write — yes  Madam,  dreaming 
in  these  paradises  of  grandeur,  wealth,  dignity  and  luxury,  you,  in  the 
greatness  of  your  soul,  thought  to  demolish  me  for  ever,  by  making  me 
out  as  a  ridiculous  fabricator  of  falsehood.  Against  whom  ?  The  fasci- 
nating, angelic,  and  spotless  Duchess  of  Sutherland.  I  do  acknowledge  to 
you,  and  before  the  world,  to  be  the  legitimate  parent  and  author  of  the 
accusations  against  the  House  of  Sutherland,  which  found  their  way  to  the 
American  puhlic  prints,  of  which  you  gave  a  specimen  in  your  "  Sunny 
^Memories,"  to  convince  the  American  people  of  how  ridiculous,  and  exces- 
sively absurd  they  were.  I  know  that  it  was  reiK)rted,  and  circulated 
through  the  public  press  in  England  and  Scotland,  that  I  was  dead  ;  but 
even  if  dead,  it  would  be  very  unlady-like  of  you  to  attack  even  a  dead 
man's  character,  at  least  until  you  made  a  searching  enquiry  into  the 
veracity  or  falsehood  of  his  statements.  If  you  believed  this  report,  tliey 
have  deceived  you,  and  as  sure  as  I  am  a  living  Scotchman  my  motto  is, 
nenio  vie  impune  lacesseAe.  I  do  really  sympathize  with  you,  for  I  know 
it  is  a  huinilinting  reflection  for  you,  that  for  the  sake  of  aristocratic 
adulation  and  admiration,  which  you  could  well  spare,  that  you  have 
exi)Osed  yourself  to  be  publicly  chastised  by  an  old  Ilighland  Scotch 
broken  down  stone  mason ;  yet  you  have  done  it  and  I  am  sorry  for  it, 
and  to  do  you  justice,  to  do  my  own  character  justice,  but  above  all  to  do 
the  public  justice,  I  consider  it  my  bounden  duty  to  bring  you  to  the 
test,  that  the  public  may  judge  aright  who  is  the  greatest  fabricator  of 
false  stories — you  or  me — expecting  the  public  judgment  will  be  based 
upon  the  evidence  we  advance  to  confirm  the  voracity  of  our  opposed 
statements,  and  the  source  from  which  we  obtain  our  evidence.  I  deny 
the  charge  of  fabricating  falsehood  against  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  or 
against  the.  House  of  Sutherland,  nor  against  any  other  despotic  depopu- 


72 

lating  house  in  the  highlands  of  Scotland;  neither  had  I  need  to  exagge- 
rate nor  to  colour  the  truth;  indeed  I  have  taken  more  pains  to  modify 
the  truth  than  I  should  liave  done,  so  that  people  could  believe  me.  I 
challenge,  yea,  I  court  contradiction,  or  a  combatant  upon  fair  ground. 

"No  favour — honour  bright." 

Then  at  it.  In  prefacing  your  "Sunny  Memories"  you  say — "  This  book 
will  be  found  to  be  really  what  its  name  denotes,  Sunny  Memories."  I 
admit  this  to  be  an  indisputable  fact,  for  I  believe  you  never  basked  in  the 
sunshine  of  favour  more  luxuriously  than  you  did  while  in  England.  You 
had  no  doubt  a  pecuniary  object  in  view  in  going  to  England,  and  you 
have  realized  it  to  your  heart's  desire.  The  ladies  of  England  had  also  a 
particular  object  in  view  in  inviting  you  there,  and  you  satisfied  them. 
Their  fame  as  the  greatest  philanthropists  under  heaven — their  superiority 
in  accomplishments  and  gorgeous  sublimity  to  any  other  nation  on  earth, 
are  now  established  for  ever,  and  for  ever,  (as  they  and  you  think).  Next 
you  say — "The  writer  has  been  decided  to  issue  these  letters  principally, 
however,  by  the  persevering  and  deliberate  attempt  in  certain  quarters  to 
misrepresent  the  circumstances  which  are  here  given.  So  long  as  these 
misrepresentations  affected  those  who  were  predetermined  to  believe 
unfavourably,  they  were  not  regarded;  but  as  they  have  had  some  influ- 
ence in  certain  cases  upon  really  excellent  and  honest  people,  it  was  desi- 
rable that  the  truth  be  plainly  told."  *  *  -x-  Kow  Madam  had  you 
kept  up  to  the  principle  of  telling  the  plain  truth,  you  would  have  saved 
me  the  disagreeable  task  of  correcting  you,  and  of  pointing  out  to  your- 
self, and  to  the  public,  where  you  have  failed  to  ascertain  or  tell  the  plain 
truth.  Truth  and  Justice,  Madam,  are  Heaven-begotten  twin  sisters,  but 
if  they  had  not,  nor  have  not  any  other  place  of  abode  upon  earth  but  the 
palaces  of  English  dukes  and  duchesses,  lords,  primates,  and  bishops,  and 
the  mansions  of  money  mongers,  manufacturers,  commissioners  and  factors 
such  people,  by  your  own  confession,  with  whom  you  associated,  and  cor- 
responded while  in  England,  I  say  that  long  since  the  heavenly  pair 
would  perish  homeless,  houseless,  friendless,  unpitied,  and  persecuted 
among  snow  and  frost  on  the  streets  of  England,  Ireland,  and  Scotland ; 
but  being  immortal,  they  will  ultimately  prevail  and  triumph  over  false- 
hood, sophistry  and  injustice. 

Your  lavishing  of  praise  and  admiration  of  English  feminine  beauty 
and  virtue,  of  mansions,  scenery,  institutions,  aristocratic  manners  and 
arrangements,  I  will  let  you  go  with  it  by  merely  offering  a  short  but  an 
eai-nest  prayer  up  to  Heaven,  that  the  Lord  of  Heaven  and  earth  may 
preserve  the  American  ladies  from  being  smitten  or  infected  by  the  fatal 
contagion  with  which  your  Sunny  Memories  are  pregnant,  and  that  they 
may  not  adopt  the  English  system  of  grinding  down  the  people  upon 
whom  they  depend  for  protection  in  the  time  of  need,  and  for  supplying 
them  with  all  the  necessaries  of  life  at  all  times,  to  starvation  and  beggary, 
to  crime  and  punishment,  and  then  separate  themselves  from  them  as 
unclean  animals,  in  railway  cars,  in  churches,  in  schools,  in  streets, 
theatres,  and  assemblies,   considering  their  very  breath  to  pollute  the 


73 

atmosphere,  and  exceedingly  dangerous  to  their  refined  constitutions.  This 
is  my  pi-ayer,  and  for  the  sake  of  the  American  ladies  and  the  American 
people,  I  hope  I  will  be  heard  and  answered.  The  Americans  should  have 
sad  recollection  of  what  their  fathers  told  them  of  the  English  systems 
and  manners  among  themselves  in  the  days  of  yore,  and  should  watch  well 
and  guard  themselves  against  being  beguiled  to  adopt  any  more  of  the 
English  systems  than  what  is  consistent  with  humanity,  nature  and  true 
godliness.  None  will  deny,  but  English  ladies  in  general  are  beautiful 
women  (^et  there  are  some,  no  but  many,  ugly  exceptions,)  and  can 
assume  affability  to  a  most  coaxing  and  deceptive  extent  when  they  have 
an  object  in  view  to  gain  ;  but  any  one  less  or  more  acquainted  with  their 
history,  or  with  themselves  personally,  for  any  lenijjth  of  time,  may  discern 
with  many  of  them  souls  so  much  chocked  up  with  pride  and  ambition, 
that  all  which  can  be  admired  about  them  is  only  skin  deep,  especially 
among  the  majority  of  your  bosom  favourites  wliile  in  England. 

It  is  likewise  well  known  throughout  the  whole  world  that  the  British 
aristocracy,  such  as  landocracy,  priestocracy,  moneyocracy,  cottonocracy, 
and  many  other  robbingocracies,  do  enjoy  all  the  luxuries,  grandeur, 
amusement,  and  i)leasure,  that  seared  consciences  can  enjoy,  that  art  can 
produce,  and  that  ill  fjotten  wealth  can  purchase.  But  how  many  thou- 
sands, yea  millions  of  as  valuable  human  beings  as  they  are,  are  toil- 
ing and  languishing  in  misery  and  want  all  their  life  time,  to  keep  up  this 
unnecessary  grandeur  and  dignity]  Ah  !  Madam,  this  is  an  enquiry  you 
should  have  made,  if  you  are  really  what  you  say  you  are, — a  sympathiser 
with  suffering  humanity, — before  spending  so  much  of  your  valuable  time 
and  talents,  praising  and  admiring  English  grandeur  and  dignity.  The 
majority  of  these  dignitaries  and  nobles  never  did  anything  to  benefit  so- 
ciety ;  so  that  all  you  have  seen  aVjout  them  must  be  the  production  of 
plunder,  and  the.  price  of  blood.  Yes,  I  say,  for  cme  instance,  you  ought 
to  ascertain  how  numy  slaves  his  grace  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  himself 
alone,  would  require  to  build,  and  to  furnish,  and  keep  up  his  establish- 
ment in  London,  viz.  Stafford  House,  (of  notoriety)  which  you  have  so 
elaborately  described  in  letter  16  of  your  "Sunny  Memories,"  But  as 
you  have  neglected  to  inform  the  American  ladies  how  this  magnificent 
establishment  is  supplied,  1  must  inform  them.  You  say  in  letter  17, 
•'  That  the  total  population  of  the  Sutherland  estate  is  twenty-one  thousand 
seven  hundred  and  eighty-four."  Correct,  or  incorrect  as  this  statement 
may  bo,  I  leave  it  to  you;  but  if  correct,  his  Grace's  ])eople  must  have  in- 
creased most  ivickeiUy  since  liis  Grnce  permitted  them  to  mm  n/,  and  since 
1  left  Scotland  four  years  ago.  Likewise,  if  correct,  I  can  tell  you  Madam, 
without  hesitation,  that  three-fourths  of  that  immense  population  are  living 
in  poverty  and  incredible  penury.  I  will  risk  my  reputation,  yes  my  life, 
that  sixteen  thousand  of  tliem  do  not  consuuje,  upon  an  average,  half-a- 
pound  of  animal  food  of  any  description  thiouj^h  the  whole  year,  and  that 
they  have  to  live  ui)on  the  scantiest  and  ]>oore8t  allowances  of  all  other  food 
that  human  beings  can  exist  upon.  Yes,  all  that  they  can  scrape  and 
save  i.s  needed  at  Stafford  House.  Then  I  will  allow  that  three  thousand 
of  them  live  a  little  better,  but  who  are  not  to  be  envied;  then  take  one 


74 

thousand  seven  hundred  who  live  comfortable,  but  not  in  affluence.     Add 
to  those  a  score  or  two  of  sheep  farmers,  who  occupy  three-fourths  of 
Sutherlandshire,  paying  heavy  rents,  and  live  sumptuously, — in  short  all 
proceeds  are  sent  up  to  supply  the  needs  of  Stafford  House,  and  this  is  but 
one  of  its  many  streams  of  wealth.     No  wonder,  Madam,  that  you  have 
seen  such  wonderful  splendour,  and  been  so  delightfully  entertained  at 
Stafford  House — especially  invited  there  to  vindicate  their  character  from 
the  accusations  brought  against  them  by  Donald  M'Leod,  and  others  of 
the  plebian  order.     There  is  still  a  balance  of  one  thousand  and  forty-four 
of  the  population  yet  unaccounted  for  , — these  are  of  the  unproductives. 
They  consist  of  factors,  sub-factors,  established  (by  law)  ministers,  school- 
masters, sheriffs,  police,  constables,  fiscals,  lawyers,  pettifoggers,  gamekeep- 
ers, foresters,  shepherds  ground  officers,  water  and  mussel  bailiffs,  and  an 
host  of  bloodsucking  subordinates,  vermin,  who  pick  up  every  cent  that  can 
be  concealed  or  saved  from  Stafford  House.     It  is  well  known  and  easily 
believed,  where  poverty  prevails,  there  is  strife,  and  where  strife  is,  there  is 
a  field  for  plunderto  suit  these  low  vermin  inquisitors.     Now,  Madam,  I  grant 
that  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  and  his  predecessors  were,  and  are,  the  most 
humane  and  liberal  of  all  other  Highland,  Scotch,  Irish,  or  English  plun- 
dering depopulators.     But  if  it  was  possible  or  practicable  to  try  the  ex- 
])crinient,  that  is,  to  bring  nineteen  thousand  of  the  American  slaves  to 
Sutherlandshire,  and  give  them  all  the  indulgence,  all  the  privileges,  and 
comforts  the  aborigines  of  that  county  do  enjoy,  I  would  risk  all  that 
is  sacred  and  dear  to  me,  that  they,  would  rend  the  Heavens,  praying  to  be 
restored  to  their  old  American  slave  owners,  and  former  position.     I  con- 
sider this  but  a  small  tribute  or  compliment  to  the  slave  owners ;  yet  I 
know  that  there  is  nothing  bad  but  what  can  be  worse,  for  there  are  many 
more  painful  ways  of  killing  a  dog  than  to  hang  him.     I  would  respect- 
fully ask  who  are  the  greatest  objects  of  commisseration  and  sympathy, — 
,a  brave,  moral,  intelligent  and  enterprising  race  of  people,  who  were  born 
free,  who  were  nurtured  in  the  school  of  freedom,  and  defenders  of  free- 
dom in  all  the  ages  of  time ;  against  whom  there  was  no  priestly  denunci- 
ations to  be  traced  in  sacred,  ancient,  moral,  or  modern  history;  and  who 
were  robbed  and  deprived  of  all  the  liberties  and  rights  they  were  told  and 
taught  by  their  fathers  to  be  their  indisputable  inheritance,  and  enthralled 
to  the  lowest  degree  of  degradation,  sul3mission,  and  poverty.     I  say  are 
they  not  much  more  to  be  pitied,  than  an  unfortunate  race,  who  at  an 
early  period  of  time  became  the  victims  of  cruel  priestcraft,  taking  the  ad- 
vantage of  a  curse,  said  to  be  pronounced  by  a  drunken  father,  very  likely 
in  delirium  tremens ;  or  to  the  misrepresentation  of  that  curse  left  on  sa- 
cred record,  which  left  that  race  denounced,  consigned,  and  designated  to 
be  slaves  and  the  servant  of  servants — consequently  despised,  left  untold, 
untaught  in  the  science  of  enterprise,  progress,  or  civilization  and  totally 
ignorant  of  the  rights  and  privileges  of  human  beings.     Both  cases  are  to 
pitied  and  lamented,  but  I  hold  the  latter  case  to  be  far  more  tolerable 
to  endure  than  the  former.     The  child  who  has  been  born  blind  is  not  so 
helpless,  nor  so  much  to  be  pitied  when  he  comes  to  manhood,  as  the  poor 
fellow  who  has  been  deprived  of  his  sight  after  arriving  at  manhood;  the 


former  never  knew  what  light  or  the  use  of  it  whs,  and  will  not  pine  and 
lament  over  the  loss  of  it ;  besides,  in  most  cases  natural  instincts  will,  to 
a  certain  extent,  make  up  for  the  deficiency.  Whereas,  the  latter  poor 
fellow  who  knew  what  light  is  and  the  use  of  that  inestimable  gift  of  God, 
when  he  stumbles,  or  falls,  or  strikes  his  head  against  a  post,  it  is  not  the 
personal  injury  he  sustained,  that  is  the  principal  cause  of  his  bewailing 
and  sufferings,  no,  but  the  loss  of  his  sight,  and  that  he  had  none  to 
lead  him  past  danger. 

It  is  a  melancholy,  undeniable /rtc<  that  Republic  Americans  do  breed, 
sell,  and  buy  slaves;  that  they  chase  them  with  blood  hounds  when  they 
run  away ;  that  they  flog  them ;  that  they  shoot  and  hang  them  for  dis- 
obedience; that  they  separate  husbands  and  wives,  parents  and  children. 
But  will  any  one  prove  to  me  that  the  condition  of  the  unfortunate  people 
would  be  better  or  more  tolerable  should  the  Americans,  like  High- 
land Scotch  and  English  dukes,  marquises,  earls,  and  lairds,  make  and 
take  as  many  slaves  as  they  choose  for  nothing.  Methinks  it  would  be 
more  consistent  to  admit,  that  buying  and  selling,  and  the  higher  the  price 
of  slaves  are,  is  a  sure  guarantee  that  they  will  be  taken  care  of,  (leaving 
humanity  out  of  sight )  If  a  man  purchases  a  horse  at  a  high  price,  he 
will  take  care  of  that  animal ;  but  if  he  knew  that  he  could  get  as  many 
horses  as  he  choosed  for  nothing,  and  that  when  one  horse  died  or  was 
lamed,  that  he  had  nothing  to  do  but  to  go  and  take  another,  you  could 
not  expect  that  man  to  care  much  whether  his  horses  were  well  ied  or 
housed. 

The  American  slave  owners  themselves  are  to  be  pitied,  for  they  are  the 
dupes  or  victims  of  false  doctrine,  or  rather  say,  of  the  misinterpretation 
of  sacred  records.  They  believe  to  have  a  divine  right  to  sell  and  buy 
African  slaves ;  to  flog,  hang  and  shoot  them  for  disobeilieuce ;  and  to 
chase  them  with  blood  hounds  and  Methodist  ministers,  if  they  run  away. 
But  the  English  aristocracy  maintains  to  still  higher  prerogatives,  in  di- 
rect opposition  to  sacred  records,  — they  believe  to  have  divine  right  to 
monopolise  the  whole  creation  of  G(xi  in  Britian  for  their  own  private  use, 
to  the  exclusion  of  all  the  rest  of  His  creatures.  They  have  enacted  laws 
to  establish  these  rights,  and  they  blush  not  to  declare  these  laws  sacred. 
And  it  is  to  be  lamented  that  these  laws  and  doctrines  are  generally  be- 
lieved. Let  any  one  peruse  their  Parchment  Rights  of  Property,  and  he 
will  find  that  they  include  the  surface  of  the  earth,  all  the  minemls,  itc. 
below  the  surface  to  the  centre,  all  that  is  above  it  up  to  the  heavens, 
rivers  of  waters,  bays,  and  creeks,  of  mixed  salt  water  and  fresh  w  ater,  for 
one  and  one-fourth  leagues  out  to  the  sea,  with  all  the  fishes  of  every  des- 
cription which  Kpawn  or  feed  therein,  and  all  fowls  who  lay  and  are  raised 
on  land, — a  right  to  deprive  the  jieople  of  the  least  pi*etention  of  right  to 
the  creation  of  God  but  what  they  choose  to  give  them, — a  right  to  conij>el 
the  people  to  defend  their  properties  from  invaders;  to  prc.'ts  and  ballot  as 
many  of  them  as  they  choose;  hand-culf  them  if  they  are  unwilling,  and 
force  them  to  swear  bi/  God  to  be  time  and  faithful  slaves, — a  right  to  im- 
prison them,  to  flog,  to  hang,  and  shoot  them  if  i-efractory,  or  for  the  least 
disobedience.     Yes,  a  right  to  force  them  away  to  foreign  and  unhealthy 


76 

climes,  to  fight  nations  who  never  did  them  any  injury,  where  they  perish 
in  thousands  by  disease,  fatigue  and  starvation,  like  brute  beasts ;  to  hang, 
shoot,  or  flog  them  to  death  for  even  taking  a  morsel  of  food  when  dying 
for  want  of  it :  all  for  to  gain  more  possessions  and  power  for  British  aris- 
tocracy. Only  read  the  history  of  the  East  and  West  Indies ;  of  the  Pen- 
insula, Crimea,  and  China  Wars. 

Slavery  is  damnable,  and  the  most  disgusting  word  in  the  English  or 
any  other  language ;  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  the  Americans  will  soon 
discern  its  deformity,  pollution  and  iniquity,  and  wipe  away  that  old 
English  polluted  stain  from  their  character.  But  there  is  not  the  least 
shadow  of  hope  that  ever  the  British  aristocracy  will  think  shame,  or  give 
up  their  system  of  slavery ;  for  it  is  the  most  profitable  now  under  heaven, 
and  the  most  admired,  and  adopted  by  all  other  nations  of  the  earth ;  at 
least  until  the  promised  Millenium  will  arrive,  whatever  time  that  blessed 
era  will  take  in  coming — unless  the  people  in  their  might  will  rise  some 
morning  early,  and  demand  their  rights  and  liberties  with  the  united 
voice  of  thunder  which  will  make  the  most  hardened  and  stubborn  of  the 
aristocratic  adamant  hearts  tremble  and  ache.  British  ocracy's  sympathy 
with  American  slaves  is,  in  reality,  a  burlesque ;  for  I  do  assure  you, 
Madam,  they  care  no  more  for  the  eniancipation  of  the  American  slaves 
than  they  do  for  the  emancipation  of  Greenland  whales  and  seals  from 
their  captors.  Self-interest  and  fame  was  their  object  in  jumping  at  your 
"Uncle  Tom's  Cabin"  and  in  their  adulation  of  the  authoress,  and  has 
been  their  object  since  ever  I  began  to  take  notice  of  their  sophistical 
movements,  and  long  before  it.  Much  to  their  praise  (though  it  cost 
them  twenty-one  million  pounds  sterling)  the  British  people  abolished  sla- 
very in  the  West  India  British  Colonies.  But  who  were  their  bitter  and 
inveterate  opponents  1 — English  Bishops,  and  aristocracy  ;  but  now  they 
take  all  the  praise  to  themselves.  Their  principal  cause  for  denouncing 
American, slavery  is,  if  properly  searched  out,  that  their  West  Indian 
estates  does  not  make  such  lucrative  returns  to  them  now  as  they  used  to 
do,  and  not  their  sympathy  for  the  African  race.  However,  it  is  an  ad- 
mitted fact,  that  it  is  characteristic  of  British  aristocracy  to  be  the  most 
liberal  sympathisers  with  foreign  victims  of  oppression,  injustice  and 
barbarous,  ungodly  laws ;  but  with  me  their  motives  are  very  question- 
able, they  having  reverse  qualifications  at  home.  But  they  know  that 
their  foreign  sympathy,  liberality,  and  abhorrence  of  foreign  slavery  will 
find  a  conspicuous  place  in  the  public  press,  magazines,  school  books,  re- 
ports and  tracts,  and  that  their  praise  will  reach  the  utmost  corner  of  the 
earth — that  their  fame,  as  the  most  humane,  the  most  benevolent  and 
blessed,  will  be  ballooned  up  to  Heaven  by  bishops,  priests,  ministers,  that 
(reverently  speaking)  God  might  approve  of  it.  At  home  they  are  the 
most  liberal  contributors  to  Bible  and  Missionary  Societies,  especially  to 
the  publication  and  circulation  of  missionary  reports,  where  the  donors 
and  donations  are  sure  to  be  magnified  and  praised  up  to  heaven  ;  and  the 
recipients  represented  as  the  most  ignorant  of  the  plan  of  salvation  and  of 
the  Christian  religion — denying  not  but  they  had  the  image  of  God  on 
them,  yet  not  (in  intellect)  much  above  the  condition  of  the  brute  crea- 


tion.   These  hired  emmissaries  have  contributed  on  a  large  scale,  and  assist- 
ed greatly  the  calumniators  of  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.     I  know  many 
of   them   going  about  preaching^  prai/intj^   circulating   G<ielic   Bibles   and 
religious  tracts,  at  the  same  time  surveying  the  country  and  collecting  in- 
formation of  the  districts  more  susceptible  and  profitable  for  sheep-farm- 
ing, and  publishing  the  most  gross,  unfounded  and  inconsistent  falsehoods 
regarding  the  character  and  intelligence  of  the  people,  that  could  be  coined 
l)y  tlie  arch-enemy  of  mankind — (you  know  who  that  is.)      However,  all 
this  had  the  desired  consummation  or  effect.     The  benevolence  of  aristo- 
cratic donors  and  liberal  donations  were  praised  in  every  sublime  term 
that  the  English  language  could  supply ;  and  to  magnify  their  liberal  and 
benevolent   dispositions   still    more,    the  demerits,  undeservedness,   the 
barbarianism  and  sloth  of  the  recipients  were  described  in  the  grossest  Bil- 
lingsgate language  that  could  be  collected.    But  follow  those  over-praised 
and  admired  aristocratic  personages  home  to  these  palaces,  which  cost  you, 
Mddam,  so  much  time  and  labour  to  describe  to  your  American  friends, 
(although  you  were  supplied  with  catalogues  and  invoices  of  their  interior, 
and  a  plan  or  map  of  their  pleasure  grounds),  and  ask  them  the  few  fol- 
lowing questions  : — In  the  name  of  wonder  how  did  you   manage  to  get 
these  splendid  edifices  built  and  furnished  so  gorgeously,  when   I  know 
you  yourselves  never  put  a  hand  to  any  work  ]     The  reply  would  be — We 
employ  men  to  do  it  for  us.     Still  more  surprised,  you  ask — How  have 
you  got  the  enormous  sums  of  money  required  to  pay  them?    The  truth- 
ful reply  should  be — Oh,  we  have  large,  extensive  lauded  estates,  and  we 
can  tax  the  people  who  occupy  and  labour  them   as   we  please.     Others 
would  reply,  we  employ  so  many  thousands  of  people,  and  we  pay  them 
as  we  please;  for  every  shilling  they  work  for,  or  get,  we  have  three  shil- 
lings, and  were  it  not  for  the  tricks  you  Yankees  play  on  us  at  times,  we 
might  be  a  great  deal  richer  than  we  are,  even  richer  than  the  landlords. 
But  halt  a  little  until  you  see  a  poor  industrious  tenant  of  one  of  these 
landed  aristocracy,  apj^roaching  the  gate  of  this  palace   with  a  humble 
petition,  shewing  a  most  grevious  comj)laint,  for  an  outrage  committed  by 
lie  of  his  graces  or  lordship's  factors  or  underlings,  and  prevented  to  enter 
my  farther  by  a  bulldog  at  full  chain  length;  if  he  got  past  the  dog,  met 
another  bull  in  human  shape,  dres.sed  in  livery,  from  whom  there  was  no 
escaping,  and  had  to  stand  still   until   his  grace  or  lordship  thought  it 
l>roper  to  take  an  airing  walk  for  his  health  after  breakfast  or  dinner,  and 
ufter  waiting  for  days  in  this  humiliating  position,   ultimately  told  that 
Mothing  could  l:>e  done  for  him,  or  oixlered  back  to  the  tymnt  tmderling 
ii^'ainst  whom  he  complained  for  nidress,  and  you  may  wisily  guess  what 
kind  of  redress  or  reception  the  poor  fellow  would  get.     Shift  tlun  to  the 
palace  of  a  church-ocracy,  cottonocracy,  or  any  other  ocracy  you   please, 
and  see  a  poor  fellow  in  rags,  exhausted  in  frame,  with  trembling  limbs, 
leaning  on  his  staff,  coming  up  to  the  gate  soliciting  a  crumb  of  bread  or 
a  morsel  of  broken  meat  from  the  tablo  which  he  was  supplying  all  his 
lifetime.     There  you  will  see  the  broken  meat  thrown  away  to  feed  useless 
dogs,  and  the  poor  fellow  collared  by  a  police  constjible,  and  next  day 
sentenced  to  thirty  days'  imprisonment  iu  Bridewell,  breaking  stones  or 


78 

teasing  oakum,  for  his  impudence;  but  two  blacks  will  never  make  a  white 
— if  you,  Madam,  and  I  were  sitting  side  by  side  for  six  months,  I  would 
bet  you  a  dollar  my  side  of  the  leaf  would  be  the  darkest — hence  we 
iiiusl  turn  up  the  most  ridiculous  brifjltt  side  of  the  question.      Did   you, 
Madam,  enquire  while  in  England,  how  this  noble  institution  called  the 
Poor  Man's  Church,  in  England  and  Ireland,  whose  bishops,  structure, 
and  constitution  you  admired  so  much,  and  laboured  so  much  in  recom- 
mending to  others,  is  maintained  1     I  know  you  did  not.     That  such 
questions  were  entirely  out  of  your  way.     This  is  another  of  the  costly  and 
pernicious  aristocratic  institutions  of  the  country,  self  styled  the  "  Poor 
Man's  Church."     It  is  not  difficult  to  make  you  understand  how  it  is  so 
called.     Church  revenues  were  at  one  period,  yes  for  ages,  divided  into 
three  parts, — the  first  part  for  the  maintenance  of  the  priesthood — the 
second  for  the  maintenance  and  repair  of  the  fabric  of  the  Church,  and 
the  third  for  the  relief  and  support  of  the  j^oor.     But  the  Clergy,  aided  by 
their  patrons,  the  aristocracy,  have  contrived  and  enacted  laws  to  saddle  the 
maintenance  of  the  fabric  on  the  people,  in  the  form  of  Church  Rate?,  the 
maintenance  of  the  poor  on  the  people  in  the  form  of  Poor  Rates,  while 
the  Apostolic  priesthood,  descended  from  the  poor  fishermen  of  Galilee, 
swallowed  up  both  their  own  and  the  poor  people's  share.     Not  satisfied 
with  this,  the  Church  does  not  disdain  to  seize  the  poor  man's  pots  and 
pans,  and  even  the  bed  that  he  rests  his  weary  limbs  on,  to  sell  them  by 
public  auction  to  raise  funds  to  wash  the  priests'  surplices,  and  to  ring  the 
bells.     The  twenty-five  State  Bishops  of  England  divide  among  them- 
selves incredible  sums  of  money.     By  a  late  Parliamentary  return,  it 
will   be  seen  the  sums   they   leave    behind   them    at   their   death   are 
enormous.     From  another  Parliamentary  return  it  is  proved,  as  stated 
in  the  House  of  Commons  by  Captain  Osborn,  that  eleven  Irish  State 
Bishops  left  behind  them  at  their  death,  the  sum  of  one  million  eight 
hundred  and  seventy-five  thousand  pounds  sterling,  accumulated  within 
a  period  of  from  forty    to  fifty  years.     The  Bishop  of  Cashel  during  a 
single   life,    saved  £400,000  from    the   tributes  levied  on  the  i)oorest, 
worst  fed,  worst  clad,  of  all  the  nations  of  the  earth.     How  much  charity 
and  spirit  of  Christianity  dwelt  in  his  palace,  or  occupied  his  bosom,  may 
be  guessed  ]     How  much  piety  and  christian  virtue  must  the  prelates  of 
Dublin,  Tuam,  Armagh,  and  Clogher  have  excercised  to  enable  them  to 
hoard  up  fortunes  of  from  £250,000  to  £600.000  a  piece  during  their 
lives.     This  is  a  sample  of  the  Bishops  of  the  English  Church  in  Ireland, 
for  which  the  British  nation  are  keeping  up  an  army  of  34,000  soldiers, 
besides  an  army  of  mounted  police,  to  watch  over  its  safety.     Surely  these 
are  expected  to  be  serious  and  strenuous  sympathisers  with  American 
slaves.     Now  you  must  know  Madam,  that  there  was  only  £151,127  12s. 
4d.  of  hard  cash  divided  by  the  bishops  among  themselves ;  but  this  only 
represents  but  a  small  proportion  of  their  actual  gains  ;  we  have  to  add  to 
this  the  rents  and  profits  of  670,000  acres  of  the  Irish  land  which,  in  1845, 
amounted  to  £92,000 ;    tithe  composition,  £531,781   14s    7d. ;  minister 
money,  £10,000;  then  what  is  termed  Deans  and  Chapter,  £22,624  5s. 
5d.,  besides  other  perquisites,  makes  a  total  of  £807,533  12s.  4d.     What 


work  is  done  for  all  this  expenditure  1  According  to  report,  out  of  2364: 
parishes  in  Ireland,  155  have  no  churches,  and  not  a  single  piotestant 
inhabitant ;  45  parishes,  having  under  50  protestants,  including  men, 
women  and  children,  they  are  not  on  that  account  however,  relieved  from 
payin<]f  tithes  to  the  English  Church  which  are  still  compulsory  exacted — of 
300  dignities,  and  prebends  75  of  them  have  no  duties  to  perform,  and  96 
other  sinecures.  The  Archdeacon  of  Meath  has  £731,  and  not  one  pro- 
testant  to  attend  him  or  a  soul  to  cure.  I  find  seven  benefices,  with  62 
protestants,  without  one  church  or  a  clergyman,  who  pays  £2869  lis.  of 
tithe.  I  find  eight  parishes  with  only  17 -J  members  of  the  State  Church 
who  pay  £4860  of  tithe  composition.  Need  we  be  surprised  that  such  a 
system  as  this  should  have  issued  in  beggary  and  wretchedness  and  crime 
to  the  Irish  people,  and  kept  that  nation  hanging  on  the  brink  of  rebellion 
since  they  became  subject  to  the  English  Government.  This  is  the  church, 
which  Babington  Macauly  descril^es  the  "  most  ridiculous,  and  inde- 
fensible of  all  the  institutions  now  existing  in  the  civilized  world."  and 
by  Mr.  Roebuck  as  the  "greatest  ecclesiastical  enormity  in  Europe." 
Space  will  not  permit  me  to  dwell  on  these  cases,  which  could  be  multi- 
plied almost  without  end.  Indeed  the  rapacity  of  the  clergy  is  almost 
proverbial.  They  are  not  satisfied  with  one  living,  they  would  grasp  at 
ten  if  they  could  get  them.  What  do  they  care  about  duties,  it  is  the 
money  they  want.  They  are  in  reality  what  Milton  styled  them  in  his 
day,  "non  resident,  and  plurality  gaping  prelates,  the  giilphs  and 
whirlpools  of  benefices,  but  the  dry  pits  of  all  sound  doctrine  who  engross 
many  pluralities  under  a  non-resident  and  slumbering  dispatching  of 
souls,  who  let  hundreds  of  parishes  famish  in  one  diocese,  while  they,  the 
prelates,  are  mute,  and  yet  enjoy  that  wealth  which  would  furnish  all  those 
dark  places  with  able  supply  ;  and  yet  they  eat,  and  yet  they  live  at  tlu' 
rate  of  lords,  and  yet  hoard  up ;  consuming  and  purloining  even  that 
which  by  their  foundation  is  allowed  and  left  to  the  poor  and  to  the 
reparation  of  the  church." 

The  English  people  who  believe  in  the  Episcopalian  creed  and  doctrine 
are  entitled  to  support  this  apostolic  institution  named  after  them  and  they 
do  it  sweetly.  It  is  a  difiicult  thing  to  get  exact  estimates  of  the  total 
revenue  of  this  institution  in  England.  Churchmen  have  always  been 
exceedingly  loath  to  give  information  on  this  subject.  When  the  Gov- 
ernment in  1836  had  made  enquiries  on  the  subject,  the  ecclesijistical 
commission  was  called  on  to  make  a  return  of  the  income  of  the  clergy  to 
Parliaujent,  they  then  gave  in  the  net  revenue  of  the  church  at  only 
£3.436,851  ;  but  since  then  th«  tithe  commutation  act  has  come  into 
ojHiration,  then  it  became  the  interest  of  the  church  to  claim  as  much  as 
possible,  forgetting  their  previous  return.  What  has  been  the  consecjuen- 
ces  ?  The  tithes  commuted  swelling  up  at  once  to  six  millions  and  a  half 
sterling,  and  they  found  out  that  if  the  tithes  yet  uncommuted  be 
rated  at  the  same  value  as  those  commuted,  the  annual  income  of  the  clergy 
from  tithes  alone  will  at  least  amotint  to  £8,000,000  a  year.  Besides  the 
tithes,  there  are  the  charitable  foundations  of  England,  most  of  which 
they  have  got  into  their  hands.  These  are.the  professorships,  fellowships, 


80 

tutorships,  masterships,  etc  ,  in  the  universities,  and  the  revenues  of  Ox- 
ford and  Cambridge  amounts  to  no  less  than  £741,000.  Then  the  surplice 
fees  for  the  consecration  of  burial  ijrounds,  preacherships,  lectureships, 
chapiainships,  chapel  of  ease,  easter  dues,  christening  fees,  marriage  fees, 
burial  fees,  episcopal  revenues  from  land  and  other  sources,  when  added 
together,  will  form  a  total  of  not  less  than  ten  millions  sterling  per  year. 
Then  Madam,  I  will  give  you  a  brief  sketch  of  how  the  British  people 
are  taxed  for  other  aristocratic  purposes;  the  process  is  simple  indeed.  They 
don't  ask  the  consent  of  those  whom  they  tax — they  take  particular  care 
to  keep  them  out  of  their  counsels  as  much  as  possible :  they  merely  tax 
us  and  make  us  pay,  having  at  all  times  at  hand,  and  under  their  command 
a  strong  body  of  police,  soldiers,  and  diabolical  agencies  of  all  sorts,  and 
pay  the  people  must.  See  how  they  manage  to  get  it, — so  much  on  sugar, 
so  much  on  tea,  coffee,  tobacco,  malt,  hops,  cocoa,  soap,  spirits,  window 
light,  &c.  tfec.  "We  are  quarrelling  about  an  income  tax  of  seven-pence  the 
pound  sterling,"  said  Mr.  Cobden,  in  his  speech  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, March  13th,  1852.  What  amount  do  the  people  pay  on  articles 
consumed  by  them  1  For  every  20s.  they  expend  on  tea,  they  pay  10s. 
of  duty;  for  every  20s.  on  sugar,  they  pay  6s.;  on  coffee,  8s.;  on  soap,  Ts.; 
on  beer,  4s.;  on  tobacco,  16s.;  on  spirits,  14s.;  on  every  20s.  they  expend 
upon  these  articles,  and  other  articles  in  proportion,  you  cannot  but  see 
that  this  amounts  to  an  income  tax,  not  7d.  the  pound,  but  sometimes  of 
12s.,  15s.,  or  16s.  per  pound;  while  men  of  thousands  a  year  expend  their 
money  upon  luxuries,  with  comparatively  little  tax."  It  is  really  wonder- 
ful how  the  aristocratic  classes  have  contrived  to  evade  the  payment  of 
their  due  share  of  the  taxation  of  the  country.  According  to  their  own 
Parliamentary  Report,  the  land  tax  of  Great  Britian  amounts  to  £1,183,- 
000,  which  is  only  one  pound  in  every  thirty-three  pounds  raised  by  tax- 
ation in  Britain.  The  taxes  are  mainly  extorted  from  the  working  classes, 
who  are  the  least  able  to  bear  the  imposition,  while  the  rich  both  exempt 
themselves,  and  spend  the  taxes  so  raised  in  the  most  riotous,  reckless, 
extravagance.  The  land  tax,  so  far  as  I  can  trace,  has  not  been  increased 
since  1688,  though  other  taxes  during  that  period  have  nearly  twenty  fold. 
Yet  from  the  beginning  of  George  the  Third's  reign  to  1834,  the  aristocracy 
had  seized  upon  and  enclosed  not  less  than  6,840,540  acres  of  common 
land,  but  the  taxes  were  not  increased  one  cent.  This  is  not  all,  they  have 
enacted  laws  to  exempt  the  landed  and  agricultural  classes  from  taxes  im- 
posed on  the  rest  of  the  community.  The  landlord  laws  enact  that  all  shall 
pay  the  stamp  duties  but  themselves.  The  assessed  taxes  have  been  re- 
moved down  to  the  farm-house,  and  the  shepherd's  dog.  The  laws  author- 
ize entail,  by  which  real  estates  are  preserved  to  a  series  of  heirs,  unat- 
tachable  by  the  claims  of  creditors.  They  have  specially  exempted  lands 
from  the  heavy  probate  and  legacy  duty,  imposed  on  all  other  kinds  of 
property  descending  by  inheritance  or  Will.  By  these  means  alone,  ac- 
cording to  calculation,  they  saved  themselves  the  enormous  sum  of  £3,- 
000,000  annually.  I  say,  for  instance,  that  a  poor  labouring  man,  by  dint 
of  hard  industry  and  economy,  has  saved  two  hundred  pounds,  which  he 
leaves  to  a  relative  at  his  death.      The  amount  is  taxed  at  the  rate  of  one 


81 

to  ten  per  cent.,  according  to  the  nearest  of  kin.  But  say  that  a  lord,  duke, 
or  earl  dies,  and  leaves  an  estate  of  from  one  to  forty  thousand  pounds  a 
year,  not  one  penny  is  in  this  case  paid  in  the  shape  of  tax.  They  man- 
aged that  the  industrious,  and  all  other  classes  but  their  own,  should  pay 
sweetly  for  public  misrule.  To  help  themselves  still  further,  they  have 
saddled  eight  hundred  and  forty-one  of  their  order  upon  the  nation,  under 
the  lucrative  title  of  State  Pensioners,  whose  pensions  average  £1,876, 
total,  £1,638,371  per  annum,  not  speaking  of  the  thousands  of  lower 
grades  of  pensionei'S.  I  shall  conclude  this  portion  of  my  address  to  you, 
by  briefly  informing  you  of  the  expenses  of  the  aristocratic  fighting  estab- 
lishment of  Great  Britian,  during  thirty  years  of  peace,  (both  military  and 
naval), — £549,083,112  ;  average  per  annum,  £16,150,000,  including  the 
expenses  of  putting  down  the  Canadian  Liberals,  and  of  the  Opium  War 
in  China.  (See  Lord  John  Russell's  speech  in  the  House  of  Commons, 
on  the  18th  of  July,  1848.)  In  short,  Madam,  if  I  was  to  enumerate 
what  I  know  myself  of  the  extravagant  expenditure  of  the  British 
Aristocratic  Government,  and  of  the  monopolising  systems  of  Great 
Britain,  you  would  be  astonished  how  the  producers  of  all  the  wealth  and 
splendour  you  have  seen  in  England  could  exist  at  all.  The  Duke  of  Wel- 
lington alone  cost  the  nation  £2,762,563,  since  he  entered  the  army,  up  to 
1818.  No  wonder  that  the  magnificent  edifices,  the  sumptuous  furnish- 
ings and  embellishments,  the  beauties  of  art  and  nature  within  and  with- 
out these  edifices,  and  the  amiable  demeanour  of  the  crafty  ladies  of  Eng- 
land, have  dazzled  your  eyes,  so  much  so  as  to  throw  all  republic  grandeur, 
liberty,  beauty,  and  arrangements,  completely  in  the  shade  of  insignifi- 
cancy. But,  Madam,  had  you  made  proper  enquiry  and  research,  you  would 
have  found  that  all  these  magnificent  superstructures  and  splendour  which 
rivetted  your  attention,  and  brought  forth  your  admiration  and  superfluity 
of  praise,  were  founded  on  American  and  West  Indian  slavery,  and  East 
Indian  plunder,  embellished  and  supplied  by  home  plunder ;  then  you 
have  a  fair  si>ecimen,  rather  an  ocular  demonstration  of  the  sublime  and 
ridiculous — somewhat  like  what  you  will  find  in  Spain,  Portugal  and 
Italy.  There  you  will  find  superb  mansions,  and  churches  which  will  sur- 
pass any  you  have  seen  in  England,  connected  with  an  institution  they  call 
The  Holy  Inquisition.  But  in  the  rear  and  basement,  you  may  find 
racks,  gags,  wheels,  and  other  instruments  of  punishment;  helpless,  hope- 
less victims  going  through  various  ordeals  of  lingering  death,  and  a  char- 
nel  house  to  receive  them.  Let  no  one  suppose  that  I  include  the  English 
people  in  this  black  catalogue;  no,  I  respect  them,  for  they  are  the  real 
victims  of  unnecessary  dignity  and  grandeur. 

In  your  perambulation  in  Scotland,  you  have  seen  only  one  church 
worthy  of  your  notice,  and  that  same  one  was  faulty,  and  not  one  liviiig 
literary,  scientific,  or  tlieological  gentleman  met  you,  even  in  Edinburgh, 
(modern  Athen.s)  that  was  worth  mentioning  hia  name,  but  Doctor 
Guthrie,  a  Free  Church  minister,  and  Doctor  Henderson,  a  homoepathic 
physician.  Of  all  the  letters  you  found  waiting  yoti  in  Edinburgh,  there 
were  only  five  of  tliem  worthy  of  your  notice,  viz:  "A  very  kind  and 
-beautiful  one  from  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  another  horn  lier  brother 
p 


82 

the  Earl  of  Carlisle,  making  an  appointment  for  meeting  you  as  soon  as 
you  arrived  in  London;  another  from  the  Rev.  Mr.  Kingsley  and  his  lady. 
Letters  from  Mr.  Binney,  and  Mr.  Sherman — all  containing  invitations  to 
visit  them  in  London."  You  say,  in  writing  to  your  dear  sister  upon  this 
subject,  '*As  to  all  engagements,  I  am  in  a  happy  state  of  acquiescence, 
having  resigned  myself  as  a  very  tame  lion  into  the  hands  of  my  keepers. 
Whenever  the  time  comes  for  me  to  do  anything,  I  will  try  to  behave 
myself  as  well  as  I  can, — which,  as  Dr.  Young  says,  is  all  an  angel  can  do 
in  the  same  circumstances."  Oh,  Madam,  what  presumptive  comparisons. 
When  God  appoints  and  commissions  men  or  angels  to  advocate  the  cause 
of  the  oppressed,  and  preach  deliverance  to  the  captive  and  slave.  The 
oppressors  of  the  people  will  not  be  (nor  w^ere  not)  their  admired,  bosom 
friends  and  only  associates;  they  w^ould  not  be  embarrassed,  nor  would 
hearken  to  the  flattering  correspondence  and  invitation  of  Dukes,  Duch- 
esses, Earls,  nor  of  such  as  those  who  accumulated  immense  wealtli  and 
grandeur  by  grinding  down  the  faces  of  the  poor  and  industrious  ;  nor 
yet  would  they  be  coaxed  from  ])erforming  their  mission  faithfully,  by 
presents  of  platefulls  of  glittering  gold — long  purses,  containing  unac- 
counted large  amounts  of  the  same  precious  metal,  and  boxes  of  jewelry 
and  diamond  bracelets — yes,  and  costly  dresses,  not  knowing  their  number. 
We  have  an  ocular  demonstration  of  this  in  the  behaviour  and  conduct  of 
men  (not  speaking  of  angels),  down  from  Moses  to  Luther,  Calvin  and 
John  Knox — men  who  despised  that  which  you  admired — who  did  not 
hesitate  to  proclaim  the  messages  they  received  from  their  master  to  the 
different  Pharoah's  they  had  to  contend  with  in  the  world,  and  chose  ra- 
ther to  associate  with  the  captives — partake  of  their  suffering  and  afflic- 
tions, than  to  share  in  the  festivities,  sumptuousness,  and  luxuries  of  the 
oppressors.  None  who  will  peruse  your  "  Sunny  Memories  "  carefully,  but 
must  come  to  the  conclusion,  that  if  ever  you  received  any  injunctions 
from  heaven  regarding  the  American  slaves,  that  you  have  merchandised 
them.  Mr.  Gough,  the  great  teetotal  advocate  and  abstainer,  hearing  of 
your  success,  soon  followed  you  to  Britain;  but  what  would  you  think  of 
him  yourself,  had  he  made  the  distillers  and  brewers  of  Britain  his  only 
bosom  associates  and  co-operators  in  putting  down  the  vices  of  intemper- 
ance in  America  or  anywhere  else,  which  brought  thousands,  yea,  millions 
of  the  people  to  a  premature  grave,  crime,  and  condign  punishment.  I 
say  what  would  you  think  of  him  should  these  gentlemen  load  him  with 
many  thousand  sovereigns  for  praising  their  mansions,  and  extensive 
establishments  for  manufacturing  crime  and  woe  to  an  extent  which  would 
throw  the  American  establishment  of  the  same  character  into  the  shade  of 
insignificance;  would  you  yourself  consider  him  worthy  the  name  of  a 
teetotal  advocate,  or  a  sympathiser  with  the  victims.  I  am  sorry  to  say 
that  my  view  of  your  movements  and  manoeuvers  in  Britian,  is  a  fac 
simile ;  only  this,  that  you  have  received  many  thousand  sovereigns  (yes, 
to  an  unknown  amount),  for  the  express  purpose  and  conditions  of  eman- 
cipating American  slaves.  What  have  you  done  with  these  immense 
sums  ]— not  a  single  dollar  of  it  can  be  traced  to  where  it  was  intended, 
and  should  be  found. 


83 

I  was  present  at  the  great  meeting  or  soiree  you  had  in  the  Music  Hall, 
Edinburgli,  (the  seat  of  learning,)  I  know  that  you  have  been  well  received 
there,  and  almost  every  body  thought  you  were  worthy  of  it,  (I  among 
the  rest);  a  great  deal  of  merited  eulogy,  and  a  great  deal  of  what  I  consider 
fulsome,  blasphemous  adulation,  were  poured  out  upon  you  that  evening, 
but  all  seemed  to  go  down  well  with  you;  you  were  held  up  by  the  orators 
of  the  evening  to  the  immense  assembly  as  the  Angel  of  Freedom,  the 
Angel  of  Light,  J-c.  But  among  the  flattering  orators  there  were 
none  worthy  of  your  notice,  (as  I  said  before)  but  Doctor  Guthrie  !  Whyl 
because  he  spoke  highly  of  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland.  This  pays  the 
Doctor  well,  for  when  the  Duchess  comes  to  Edinburgh,  she  attends 
divine  w^orship  in  the  Doctor's  church,  the  only  Free  church  she  ever 
entered,  and  she  graces  the  offering  plate  with  two  or  three  sovereigns ; 
she  will  call  upon  the  Doctor  at  his  house  and  take  him  out  for  an  after- 
noon's drive  in  her  carriage,  and  send  her  compliments  to  him  when  in 
Sutherland  (her  Highland  deer  stalking  and  game  preserve  estate)  in  cart 
loads  and  hurly  loads  of  deer  carcases  and  fowl.  Her  daughters,  viz  : 
Duchess  of  Argyle,  and  Lady  Blantyre,  will  follow  the  example  of  their 
mother,  and  the  Proprietrix  of  Cromarty,  who  is  married  to  her  son.  Mar- 
quis of  Stafford,  will  not  be  behind  any  of  them.  I  assure  you  the  Doctor 
has  fine  times  of  it  between  them  all,  and  bound  to  praise  them  well. 

But  the  only  portion  of  his  speech  on  this  great  eventful,  and  never- 
to-b(?-forgotten  occasion,  which  amused  you  most  was,  "In  allusion  to  the 
retorts  which  had  been  made  in  Mrs.  Tyler's  letter  to  the  ladies  of  England, 
on  the  defects  in  the  old  country."  You  introduced  the  Doctor  to  your  read- 
ers of  the  Sunny  Memories  as  "a  tall  thin  man,  with  a  kind  of  quaintness  in 
his  mode  of  expressing  himself,  which  sometimes  gives  an  air  of  drollery 
to  his  speaking."  (True  indeed,  but  a  good  man,  and  a  man  I  admired 
much,  though  he  befooled  himself  that  night.)  "  I  do  not  deny,"  he  said 
"but  there  are  defects  in  our  country,  what  I  say  of  them  is  this, — that 
they  are  incidental  very  much  to  an  old  country  like  our  own,  as  Dr. 
Simpson  knows  very  well  and  so  does  every  medical  man,  that  when  a 
man  gets  old  he  gets  infirm,  his  blood  vessels  get  ossified.  What  is  time 
of  an  old  country  is  true  of  old  men,  and  old  women  too.  I  am  very  much 
disposed  to  say  of  this  young  nation  of  America,  that  their  teasing  with 
our  defects,  might  just  get  the  answer  which  a  worthy  member  of  the 
Church  of  Scotland  gave  to  his  son,  who  was  so  dissatisfied  with  the  defects 
in  the  church,  thai  ho  Wius  determined  to  go  over  to  a  younger  commu- 
nion— "  Ah  Sandy,  Sandy,  man,  when  your  lum  reeks  as  lang  as  ours,  it 
will  mayV)0  need  sweeping  too."  Now,  I  do  not  deny  but  we  need  sweep- 
ing; every  one  knows  that  I  have  been  singing  out  about  sweeping  for 
the  last  five  years.  Let  mo  tell  my  good  friends  in  Edinburgh  and  in  the 
country,  that  the  sooner  you  sweep  the  bettor,  for  the  chimney  may  catch 
fire  and  reduce  your  noble  fabric  to  aslies.  He  continued  and  said, 
"They  tell'us  in  that  lett<;r  about  the  poor  needle-woinan  tliat  had  to 
work  sixteen  hours  a  day,"  (but  the  doctor  forgot  to  say  for  eight  pence 
per  day).  Tis  true,  exclaimed  the  doctor ;  but  does  our  law  com))el 
them  to  work  sixteen  hours  a  day ;  may  they  not  go  where  they  like  and 


84 

get  better  wages,  and  better  work — can  the  slaves  do  that!"  Then  the 
doctor  went  on  to  detail  about  ragged  children  and  his  own  sympathy 
towards  them,  and  what  he  had  done  for  them.  Now,  the  doctor  was  in- 
vited to  this  meeting  to  speak  of  the  in  compatabilty  of  Am  er  ican  si  avery  with 
Christianity  ;  but  he  knew  better  how  to  please  his  favourable  Duchess 
than  to  speak  consistently  to  his  text — praising  English  ladies  and  justi- 
fying the  Duchess  of  Sutherland  from  charges  brought  against  her  and 
others  in  the  liberal  public  press  of  the  nation,  was  his  sole  object  in 
speaking  at  the  meeting.  I  really  felt  sorry  for  the  poor  misguided  "thin 
tall"  doctor,  yet  I  could  not  allow  him  to  escape  with  impunity  for 
his  reckless,  inconsistent  and  uncalled-for  conduct  that  night.  A  few 
days  afterwards,  I  addressed  the  following  letter  to  him  through  the 
Edinburgh  Guardian.  You  will  observe  there  was  some  peculiar  cause 
for  inviting  the  doctor  to  this  meeting,  and  that  he  was  invited  at  the  re- 
quest of  some  great  personage  or  another,  or  he  would  not  be  there.  He 
was  the  only  one  of  that  reverend  body  who  was  invited,  or  took  any  part  in 
the  proceedings  that  night,  for  this  cause  :  the  meeting  was  got  up  by  the 
Anti-Slavery  Society,  who  raised  such  a  hue  and  cry  against  the  Free  Church 
ministers  for  years  before  this,  for  taking  money  from  the  American  slave- 
holders to  build  churches,  and  Dr.  Guthrie  was  then  the  Free  Church 
champion — defending  their  conduct,  who,  at  every  meeting,  would  pin 
up  his  opponents  to  the  wall ;  however,  the  Antics  managed  to  break 
down  the  good  and  friendly  feeling  between  the  Free  Church  body  and 
the  Americans,  which  I  believe,  if  allowed  to  continue  undisturbed,  would 
have  ten  times  more  effect  for  the  emancipation  of  the  slaves,  at  least  of 
ameliorating  their  condition,  than  all  the  agitation,  excitement  and  novels 
which  have  been  displayed  upon  the  subject. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Edinburgh  Guardian. 

Sir, — You  are  already  aware  that  the  higher  a  man's  position  is  in 
society,  and  in  the  estimation  of  the  people,  the  more  dangerous  he  is 
when  he  errs.  It  is  a  singular  anamoly  that  the  ecclesiastical  orators  of 
the  platform  in  our  day  cannot  praise  one  party  enough  without  calumni- 
ating other  parties.  This  T  deplore,  and  gentlemen  guilty  of  such  prac- 
tice should  be  ashamed  of  themselves,  however  much  they  may  be  ap- 
plauded, and  whatever  amount  of  meiTiment  they  may  create  at  the  time  ; 
it  is  passing  strange  that  the  Rev.  Dr.  Guthrie  could  not  praise  Mrs. 
Beech  er  Stowe  enough,  a  lady  who  understood  so  well  that  she  could  not 
serve  God  in  a  more  acceptable  way  than  to  help  those  who  could  not 
help  themselves,  hence,  who  merited  for  herself  the  gratitude  of  every 
sympathiser  with  suffering  humanity;  nor  yet  could  he  praise  God 
enough,  "  for  (as  he  saith)  giving  us  in  our  day  (in  the  person  of  that 
lady)  one  in  whom  the  finest  genius  is  associated  with  the  imrest  and  truest 
Piety"  without  attacking  the  memory  of  Byron  and  of  Burns,  two 
shining  men  to  whom  the  world  are  so  much  indebted,  with  a  view  to  de- 
teriorate their  memory  in  the  estimation  of  his  hearers  in  the  Music  Hall 
on  the  19th  ultimo.  Be  ashamed,  Doctor,  for  your  hyperbolic  assertions  ; 
both  these  valuable  men  are  dead,  but  still  speaking,  and  their  memory  is 


85 

associated  with  truth,  though  not  with  whining  hypocrisy,  falsifying  phi- 
losophy, and  perverting  truth,  a  trade  which  pays  well  in  our  day^ — be- 
sides, you  have  not  been  long  acquainted  with  Mrs.  B.  Stowe  yet,  and  you 
should  be  more  cautious  and  sparing  of  praise.     In  like  manner,  the 
Doctor  could  not  praise  and  make  manifest  his  love  to  the  American  peo- 
ple as  the  greatest  and  noblest  on  earth  (ourselves  excepted)  for  their />wr€ 
faith^   many   Bibles^   Family   Altars^    Free   Press,    Flags,    and   })eaceable 
liberty,  especially  for  their  soil  and  air,  which,  he  says,  makes  extraordi- 
nary changes  on  men,  though  he  never  was  there,  and  is  not  sure  what 
change  they  would  make  on  him  if  he  went, — I  say,  he  could  not  do  all 
this  without  putting  his  religious  iron  bull  upon  the  neck  of  unfortunate 
people  (whose  position  in  life  is  not  their  crime,  but  their  misfortune), 
with  a  view  to  sink  them  lower  in  the  estimation  of  the  world  than  even 
Highland  and  Irish  tyrannical  landlords  and  their  tools  placed  them. 
"  Take  (said  the  humane  Doctor)  an  Indolent  Celt,  let  him  go  to  to  Ame- 
rica, he  becomes  active, — take  a  wild  Irishman,  he  becomes  civilized, — 
a  blind  bigoted  Papist,  his  eyes  are  opened,  and  he  turns  his  back  on 
Rome.    These  are  facts  extraordinary;  we  pour  with  many  good  elements 
a  singular  amount  of  impurity  across  the  Antlantic,  but  America  does  not 
cast  it  off,  it  merges,  changes,  and  reforms  it  like  the  sea  that  receives 
many  muddy   rivers,  but  keeps  it  own  bosom  clean."      Now,  Sir,  the 
Doctor  was  requested  to  speak  at  this  meeting  to  the  incompatibility  of 
American  Slavery  with  Christianity,  and  I  tell  him  that  all  this  unfoun- 
ded foulsome  calumny  which  he  poured  out  against  Highland  and  Irish 
Celts,  is  as  incompatible  with  Christianity  as  is  falsehood  with  truth,  and 
as  American  Slavery  is  with  Christianity ;  and  should  it  be  true,  it  is  un- 
called for,  and  out  of  order,  and  that  it  would  be  more  like  a  minister 
and  expounder  of  the  gospel  of  truth,  if  he  had  said, — take  the  poor  op- 
pressed trodden  down  Hgihland  Celts  who  have  been  ejected  from  every 
portion  of  their  fatherland,  created  by  God  susceptible  to  rear  food  for 
man,  and  who  were  cast  upon  sterile  moors  and  barren  by -corners,  to  whom 
every  inducement  or  encouragement  for  activity  and  industry  in  their  na- 
tive land  was  sternly  denied, — let  them  go  to  America,  where  such  are 
cheerfully  held  out  to  them,  and  they  will  soon  become  active  trustworthy 
members  of  society,  respected,  prosper  like  other  men,  and  bely  their  lay 
and  clerical  calumniators.     He  should  continue,  and  say, — take  the  poor 
Irish,  who  could  not  submit  ho  tamely  to  oppression,  who  were  often 
driven    to  niadnes  by  legalis(d  plunderers, — let   them  go  to  America, 
where  they  are  not  subject  to  such  ungodly  exactions  and  jHjrsecution  as 
in  Ireland,  and  they  will  soon  become  as  civil,  as  peaceable,  as  honest,  as 
easily  dealt  with,  and  as  industrious  as  other  men  (indejjendent  of  the 
miraculous  efficacy  of  the  soil  and  air).     But  the  Doctor  says  their  eyes 
are  opened,  and  they  turn  their  back  on  Ron)e, — that  is  to  say,  on  their 
father's  religion.     I  much  doubt  this  applauded  assertion.     No,  Doctor, 
'"it  their  eyes  are  open,  and  they  turn  their  backs  on  the  insatiable  Eras* 
iM  Church  of  England  in  Ireland,  aiul  see  themselves  out  of  the  reach 
her  cruel  Tithe  and  Tax  0ollectoi*8,  &ud  far  far  away  from  her  Bath- 
rmack  sabre  and  batten  abettors,  where  tliey  are  not  annoyed  day  and 


86 

night  by  her  licensed  emissaries  of  discord,  who  have  for  centuries  kept 
them  and  brother  Protestants  in  each  other's  throats  about  religion,  and 
they  now  find  themselves  living  among  people  worthy  of  the  name,  where 
every  man  may  believe  what  he  pleases,  worship  as  he  pleases;  where,  if 
he  is  a  good  citizen,  none  will  dispute  his  right,  where  every  man  pays 
priest  or  parson,  as  he  pays  his  tailor  and  shoemaker,  where  they  can  live 
in  harmony  among  Protestants,  Jews,  Greeks,  Mahometans,  Shakers, 
Jumpers,  Latter-Day  Saints,  &c.,  and  where  churches  of  all  denominations 
are  as  free  as  the  Doctor's  and  mine  are.  This  would  be  more  like  Doctor 
Guthrie,  for  it  is  the  only  cause  which  he  or  any  one  else  can  assign  for 
the  indolent  Celt  becoming  active,  and  the  wild  Irishman  becoming  civil- 
ized, and  not  the  mysterious  efiicacy  of  the  American  soil  and  air. — 
Where,  Doctor,  under  heaven,  will  you  find  better  soil  and  air  than  in  Ire- 
land and  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  The  doctor  would  have  us  to  believe 
that  he  would  fight  for  the  American  Slaves  if  he  would  see  any  of  them 
set  up  for  sale — (not  so  fast.  Doctor); — but,  strange  to  tell,  that  he  is 
aware  that  a  Highland  landlord,  a  very  few  years  ago,  employed  consta- 
bles, policemen  and  other  minions,  to  apprehend  a  great  number  of  High- 
landers among  the  rocks  and  hills,  where  they  fled  for  safety,  to  handcuff 
them,  and  force  them  on  board  an  old  rotten  ship  which  he  hired  to 
carry  them  away  from  the  land  of  their  birth,  and  should  be  aware  that 
the  majority  of  this  people  perished,  houseless,  homeless,  among  snow  and 
frost  on  the  frozen  soil,  and  among  the  biting  air  of  North  America.  I 
never  heard  that  the  Doctor  found  fault  Avith  him  for  this,  far  less  fight 
with  him,  although  he  had  only  to  step  over  from  his  own  house,  with  a 
good  cudgel,  to  St  Andrew's  Square,  to  meet  him;  but  these  were  High- 
landers, and  had  no  claim  on  the  Doctor's  sympathy  or  interposition ;  yet, 
there  is  no  doubt  the  Doctor  will  fight,  but  the  Atlantic  must  be  between 
him  and  the  adversary  ;  he  will  fight  none  at  liome.  The  slave  and  pauper 
makers  in  Ireland  and  Scotland,  yea,  those  who  dispersed  the  brave  sons 
of  the  mountains  and  valleys  of  Caledonia,  and  of  Green  Erin,  to  the 
four  winds  of  heaven,  the  Doctor  will  stroke  their  honourable  heads,  and 
clap  them  gently,  exclaiming,  you  are  the  blessed,  graceful  humane  ones 
who  are  purging  our  nation  from  the  impure  Irish  and  Scottish  Celts,  may 
you  be  spared  to  see  the  consummation  of  your  desire.  Hearken  to  his 
sorrow  for  the  pitiless  storm  of  unmerited  abuse  which  was  poured  on  the 
head  of  a  certain  noble  lady  of  the  Stafford-House  meeting,  viz:  Duchess 
of  Sutherland,  and  he  cries  aloud,  shame  to  them  who  did  it.  And  who 
would  confound  the  incidental  defects  of  this  country,  which,  he  says, 
are  becoming  so  old  and  infirm,  that  her  blood-vessels  are  ossified  ^vith.  the 
deep-stained  sins  of  America.  Dear  me.  Doctor,  I  thought  a  little  ago 
that  the  Americans  were  most  pious;  what  has  become  of  their 2mre faith , 
Bibles,  and  Family  Altars?  Be  that  as  it  may,  I  am  neither  ashamed 
nor  afraid  to  tell  you.  Doctor,  in  the  face,  that  if  the  number  could  be 
computed  and  compared,  that  Highland  and  Irish  landlords  sent  more 
human  beings  to  a  premature  grave,  and  caused  a  greater  amount  of 
pining  and  grief  than  ever  the  slave  lords  of  America  did  since  America 
became  a  Eepublic,  and  that  if  it  was  not  for  America,  they  would  triple 


87 

the  number.  Now,  hearken  to  the  Doctor's  sympathy  with  the  poor 
needle  woman.  He  exultingly  bawls  out  at  this  meeting, — but  does  our 
law  compel  them  to  work  1 6  hours  a-day.  True,  Oh,  Doctor !  it  does  not 
but  the  law  of  nature  does,  for  they  would  rather  do  it  than  starve,  and 
there  is  no  other  alternative ;  but  does  that  lessen  their  pain  ?  The  Doc- 
tor says — can  they  not  go  elsewhere  and  get  better  wages? — miscalled 
humanity — how  far  can  penniless,  helpless,  and  unprotected  women  go 
in  search  of  work,  or  of  better  wages  ?  and  where  would  they  go.  Doctor  1 
The  Doctor  says  that  liberty  speaks  no  tongue  but  Saxon,  and  only  found 
among  Saxon  j)eople.  What  has  become  of  the  Tongues  of  Hungarian, 
Italian,  and  Polish  patriots  1  Oh,  Doctor,  Doctor,  you  are  away  with  it 
now,  but  with  all  your  fawning  and  pandering  in  quest  of  Aristocratic 
adulation  and  honour,  the  Saxons  themselves  can  scarcely  believe  you. 
At  present  I  will  leave  you  by  merely  advising  you  not  to  go  to  America, 
especially  in  an  impaired  state  of  health,  for  fear  you  may  lose  your  no- 
tion of  Rags  and  Sou/)-Kitche)is  among  the  slaves  and  slave  lords  of 
America,  and  on  the  Queen's  first  visit  to  Edinburgh,  decline  to  be  crea- 
ted Bishop  of  the  Ragged  Schools  of  Scotland,  for  you  really  merit  the 
honour.     While  I  join  with  you  in  your  quotation  from  the  Poet,  viz. — 

We  but  ask  our  rocky  strand,  v 

Freedom's  true  and  brother  band — 
Freedom's  strong  and  honest  band  ; 
Valleys  by  the  slave  untrod. 
And  the  pilgiim's  mountain  sod, 
Blessed  by  our  Father's  God. 

I  pray  that  their  numbers  may  be  few,  who  will  be  so  unfortunate  as  to 
come  within  the  bounds  of  of  the  Docter's  sympathy.     Yours,  <fec, 

DONALD  McLEOD. 

Doctor  Guthrie  did  err  in  some  expressions  ho  made  use  of  at  that 
meeting,  and  he  erred  more  so  in  going  to  the  meeting  at  all,  yet  I  love 
him  and  respect  him  as  a  Christian  minister  and  sympathiser  with  suffer- 
ing humanity.  You  would  have  left  him  unmentioned  as  you  left  the 
other  orators,  were  it  not  for  his  praise  of  Duchesses  and  English  ladies, 
and  his  sarcasm  and  retorts  upon  Mrs.  Tyler,  and  you  only  held  his  name 
up  for  his  (juaintness  and  drollery,  fearing  to  offend  the  English  ladies  by 
letting  them  know  that  there  was  any  talent  in  Scotland ;  but  I  tell  you  that 
it  would  take  all  the  bishops  in  Enffland  to  compose  and  deliveran  address  or 
speech  any  thing  equal  to  the  other  more  sublime  portions  of  his  speech 
that  night.  But  I  will  leave  the  worthy  Rev.  Doctor  j  he  caught  grief 
enough  from  his  own  bretliren  in  the  church,  and  from  other  quarters,  for 
being  at  the  meeting,  and  it  is  a  great  pity  ho  was  there.  And  I  ask  you 
what  has  become  of  this  nioney,  and  what  have  you  done  with  it — not 
with  this  £1,000,  but  with  the  many  thousands  you  have  got  in  Scotland 
and  England.  Here  is  the  express  conditions  upon  which  you  got  it,  from 
the  mouth  of  Mr.  Ballantine,  Secretary  for  the  anti-Slavery  Society,  after 
detailing  the  jirogress  of  the  penny  offering  at  this  meeting,  he  says ; — "It 
was  accordingly  proposed  to  appeal  to  the  readers  of  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  in 


88 

Scotland  to  contribute  one  penny  each  to  create  a  fund  to  be  placed  in  the 
hands  of  Mrs.  Stowe  to  be  distributed  by  her  for  the  benefit  of  the  slave,  and 
for  the  cause  of  emancipation.  That  appeal  was  made,  and  it  has  been 
promptly  and  cordially  responded  to.  The  result  of  that  appeal  is  now 
before  you — (cheers).  I  cannot  state  precisely  what  amount  of  money 
has  been  collected,  as  sums  are  still  daily  coming  in,  but  up  to  this  hour 
it  presents  itself  in  the  form  of  1000  sovereigns" — (loud  cheering.)  I 
have  all  their  speeches  here  before  me,  and  in  case  my  readers  may  think 
that  I  am  exaggerating  the  adulation  of  Mrs.  Stowe  in  Edinburgh,  you 
have  a  verse  here,  which,  along  with  other  seven  verses  of  the  comj^osition, 
was  sung  before  her  by  one  of  the  speakers  : — 

Freedom's  angel  now's  come, 
Mercy's  sister  now's  come  : 
Grim  oppression  drees  his  doom  : 

Harriet  Beecher  Stowe's  come. 

Would  you  meet  such  a  reception  in  Scotland  now  1  No.  You  have 
let  the  veil  of  deception  drop  unawares.  Now  you  will  excuse  me,  Madam, 
for  directing  your  attention  to  chapter  17  of  your  Sunny  Memories,  where 
you  have  attacked  me  individually,  though  clandestinely,  in  order  to 
justify  the  House  and  Duchess  of  Sutherland  from  the  charges  brought 
against  them  in  the  American  prints.  You  say — "My  Dear  C. — As  to 
the  ridiculous  stories  about  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  which  found  their 
way  into  many  of  the  American  prints,  one  has  only  to  be  here  moving  in 
society  to  see  how  excessively  absurd  they  are.  In  all  these  circles  I  have 
heard  the  great  and  noble  of  the  land  spoken  of  and  canvassed,  and  if 
there  had  been  the  shadow  of  a  foundation  for  any  such  accusation,  1  cer- 
tainly should  have  heard  it  recognised  in  some  manner.  As  I  have  before 
intimated,  the  Howard  family,  to  which  the  Duchess  belongs,  is  one  which 
has  always  been  on  the  side  of  popular  rights  and  popular  reform.  Lord 
Carlisle,  her  brother,  has  been  a  leader  of  the  people  during  the  time  of 
the  Corn  Law  reformation,  and  she  has  been  known  to  take  a  wide  and 
generous  interest  in  all  these  subjects."  Heavens  !  by  whom,  was  she 
known  to  be  so.  Madam, — you  have  discovered  mysteries  that  were  never 
known  before,  none  under  heaven  heard  it  before. 

*'  Go  !  if  your  ancient  but  ignoble  blood, 

Has  crept  through  scoundrels  ever  since  the  flood — 

Go  !  and  pretend  your  family  is  young  ; 

Nor  own  your  fathers  have  been  fools  so  long. 

What  can  ennoble  sots,  or  slaves,  or  cowards; 

Not  all  the  blood  of  all  the  Howards." — Pope. 

You  say,  "  Imagine,  then,  what  people  must  think  when  they  find  in 
7-cspectable  American  prints  the  absurd  stories  of  her  turning  her  tenants 
out  into  the  snow,  and  ordering  the  cottages  to  be  set  on  fire  over  their 
heads,  because  they  would  not  go  out."  ''But,  if  you  ask  how  such  an 
absurd  story  could  ever  have  been  made  up,  whether  there  is  the  least 
foundation  to  make  it  on,  I  answer  that  it  is  the  exaggerated  report  of  a 


89 

movement  made  by  the  present  duke  of  Sutherland's  father,  in  the  year 
1811,  and  which  was  a  part  of  a  great  movement  that  passed  through  the 
Highlands  of  Scotland,  when  the  advancing  progress  of  civilization  began 
to  make  it  necessary  to  change  the  estates  from  military  to  agricultural  es- 
tablishments." You  go  on  then  detailing  the  results  of  the  union  of  Eng- 
land and  Scotland,  the  situation  of  the  Sutherland  estate  in  the  map  of 
the  Highlands.  You  say,  "  The  general  agent  of  the  estate  of  Sutherland 
is  ^Mr.  Loch."  You  are  right,  he  was,  and  you  provided  a  place  for  his 
whole  speech  before  the  House  of  Commons,  on  the  second  reading  of  the 
Scotch  Poor  Law  Bill,  June  12th,  1845,  where  he  strenuously  endeavoured 
to  vindicate  and  exonerate  himself  and  His  Grace  of  Sutherland  from  the 
charges  of  cruelty  and  injustice  to  the  people,  brought  against  them  in 
that  House  on  that  occasion  by  Mr.  Crawford.  No  wonder  that  he  ex- 
erted himself  that  day  to  silence  his  opponents,  and  to  dupe  the  House. 
He  was  21  years  a  member  in  the  House  for  the  Northern  Boroughs,  and 
this  is  the  only  speech  of  his  which  found  its  way  to  the  public  prints,  or 
considered  worthy  of  being  borrowed  or  copied  by  any  other  print.  (The 
honour  of  it  was  left  for  you  alone  Madam.)  If  I  am  not  mistaken  the 
very  day  this  speech  was  delivered  in  the  House  of  Commons,  the  case  of 
a  poor  cripple  woman,  from  the  parish  of  Farr,  Sutherlandshire,  was  de- 
cided against  His  Grace,  in  the  Court  of  Session,  Edinburgh,  and  I  had 
7 1  more  cases  from  his  estate  at  the  same  time,  in  the  hands  of  a  solicitor, 
all  pursuing  his  Grace  for  the  support  the  law  of  the  land  provided  for 
them,  but  denied  them.  Yet  I  find  in  your  quotations  from  Mr.  Loch's 
sj^ech,  this — "  Therefore  the  statements  that  have  been  made,  so  far  from 
being  correct,  are  in  every  way  an  exaggeration  of  what  is  the  fact.  No 
portion  of  the  kingdom  has  advanced  in  prosperity  so  much  ;  and  if  the 
honourable  member,  Mr.  S.  Crawford,  will  go  down  there,  I  will  give  him 
every  facility  to  see  the  state  of  the  people,  and  he  shall  judge  with  his 
own  eyes  whether  my  representation  be  not  correct  ^^  ,^  ,|c  But  I  will 
not  troubje  the  House  ^  ^  ^  the  statements  I  have  made  are  accu- 
rate, and  I  am  quite  ready  to  prove  them,  any  way  that  is  necessary."  To 
follow  this  tiiimpeted  vp  sjttech  of  Mr.  Loch  in  your  "Sunny  Memories," 
would  be  lost  time,  and  abuse  of  ink,  paper,  and  type.  Every  Highlander 
over  which  he  had  any  control,  or  had  the  least  transaction  with  liini, 
experimentally  knew  him  to  be  the  greatest  deceiver,  and  the  most  avowed 
enemy  of  the  Celtic  race  that  ever  existed  ;  hence  I  will  confine  myself  to 
a  few  remarks  which  will  be  corroborated  l>y  hundreds  of  living  witncjises. 
*'  In  the  yeare  1812-13  and  1816-17,  so  great  was  their  misery,  that  it  was 
necessary  to  send  down  oatmeal  for  their  supply,  to  the  auiount  of  £2,200, 
and  that  given  to  them."  (The  phrase  given  signifies  gratis.)  I  know 
meal  was  sent  these  years  to  the  amount  of  nearly  one  thinl  of  tho  stated 
amount  ;  but  I  know  for  a  certainty  that  the  |)eople  had  to  pay  this  trum- 
peted up  charity  at  the  rate  of  X2  ^'8.  sterling  per  boll.  I  knew  my  own 
father  to  pay  it  with  cattle,  and  on  the  least  calculation  he  handed  over  t<> 
his  Grace,  or  his  factor,  eight  jwunds  of  good  Highland  l>eef  for  every 
pound  of  course  oatmeal  he  received  three  months  prior;  and  so  did  every 
one,  who  paid  for  that  meal  in  kind.     His  Gi-ace's  libci-ality  to  kirk  ses- 


90 

sions,  and  the  poor  viz.  "  £450-ayear  ;"  to  say  the  least,  this  is  monstrous 
exaggeration.  He  says,  "  before  1812  there  were  no  bakers,  and  only  two 
shops  in  the  county,  and  two  blacksmiths."  Now  Madam,  I  can  tell  you^ 
(and  hundreds  will  back  me)  that  before  1812  there  were  thousands  of 
bakers  in  Sutherlandshire,  and  had  plenty  to  bake,  and  that  for  time  im- 
memorial prior  to  that  date,  they  never  needed  charity  or  supply  of  oat- 
meal from  their  chiefs  or  any  one  else.  Prior  to  1812,  and  as  long  as  I 
can  remember,  there  were  26  shops  in  the  county,  and  31  blacksmiths. 
There  was  scarcely  a  parish  in  the  county  but  there  were  two  blacksmiths 
employed.  The  Sutherland  people  never  knew  what  want  was,  until  they 
became  subjected  to  Loch's  iron  sway.  You  go  on  and  say,  "What  led 
me  more  particularly  to  inquire  into  these  facts  was,  that  I  received  by  mail 
while  in  London,  an  account  containing  some  of  these  stories  which  had 
been  so  industriously  circulated  in  America:  these  were  dreadful  accounts 
of  cruelties  practised,  in  the  process  of  inducing  the  tenants  to  change 
their  places  of  residences."     The  following  is  a  specimen  of  these  stories  : 

"  I  was  present  at  the  pulling  down  and  burning  of  the  house  of  Wil- 
liam Chisholm,  Badinloskin,  in  which  was  lying  his  wife's  mother,  an  old 
bedridden  woman,  of  near  one  hundred  years  of  age,  none  of  the  family 
being  at  home.  I  informed  the  party  about  to  set  fire  to  the  house  of  the 
circumstance,  and  prevailed  on  them  to  stop  till  Mr.  Sellar  would  come;  on 
his  arrival,  T  told  him  of  the  poor  old  woman  being  in  a  condition  unfit  for 

removal.     He  replied,  '  D n  her,  she  has  lived  too  long,  let  her  burn.' 

Fire  was  immediately  set  to  the  house,  and  the  blankets  in  which  she  was 
carried  were  in  flames  before  she  could  be  got  out.  She  was  placed  in  a 
little  shed,  and  it  was  with  great  difficulty  they  were  prevented  from  firing 
that  also.  The  old  woman's  daughter  arrived  while  the  house  was  on  fire, 
and  assisted  the  neighbours  in  removing  her  out  of  the  flames  and  smoke, 
presenting  a  picture  of  horror  which  I  shall  never  forget,  but  cannot  at- 
tempt to  describe  :  she  died  in  five  days." 

''  With  regard  to  this  story,  Mr.  Loch  the  agent  says.  '  I  must  notice  the 
only  thing  like  a  fact  stated  in  the  newspaper  extract  which  you  sent  me, 
wherein  Mr.  Sellar  is  accused  of  acts  of  cruelty  toward  some  of  the  people. 
This  Mr.  Sellar  tested  by  bringing  an  action  against  the  then  sheriff-sub- 
stitute of  the  county.  He  obtained  a  verdict  for  heavy  damages.  The  sher- 
iff, by  whom  the  slander  was  propogated,  left  the  county.  Both  ai-e  since 
dead." 

Having,  through  Lord  Shaftesbury's  kindness,  received  the  benefit  of 
Mr.  Loch's  corrections  to  this  statement,  I  am  permitted  to  make  a  little 
further  extract  from  his  reply.     He  says — 

''In  addition  to  what  I  was  able  to  say  in  my  former  paper,  I  can  now 
state  that  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  has  received  from  one  of  the  most  deter- 
mined opposers  of  the  measure,  who  travelled  to  the  north  of  Scotland  as 
editor  of  a  n^^wspaper,  a  letter  regretting  all  he  had  written  on  the  subject, 
being  convinced  tliat  he  was  entirely  misinformed.  As  you  take  so  much 
interest  in  the  subject,  I  will  conclude  by  saying  that  nothing  could  exceed 
the  prosperity  of  the  county  during  the  past  year;  their  stock,  sheep,  and 


91 

other  things  sold  at  high  prices ;  their  crops  of  grain  and  turnips  were  never 
so  good,  and  the  potatoes  were  free  from  all  disease  :  rents  have  been  paid 
better  than  was  ever  known  ....  As  an  instance  of  the  improved  habits 
of  the  farmers,  no  house  is  now  built  for  them  that  they  do  not  require  a 
hot-bath  and  water-closets." 

From  this  long  epitome  you  can  gather  the  following  results:  first,  if  the 
system  was  a  bad  one,  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland  had  nothing  to  do  with 
it,  since  it  was  first  introduced  in  1806,  the  same  year  her  grace  was  bom; 
and  the  accusation  against  Mr.  Sellar  dates  in  1811,  when  her  grace  was 
five  or  six  years  old.  The  Sutherland  arrangements  were  completed  in  1 8 1 9, 
and  her  Grace  was  not  married  to  the  duke  till  1823,  so  that,  had  the  ar- 
rangement been  the  worst  in  the  world,  it  is  nothing  to  the  purpose  .so  far 
as  she  is  concerned. 

As  to  whether  the  arrangement  is  a  bad  one,  the  facts  whieh  have  been 
stated  speak  for  themselves.  To  my  view,  it  is  an  almost  sublime  instance 
of  the  benevolent  employment  of  superior  wealth  and  ])Ower  in  shortening 
the  struggles  of  advancing  civilization,  and  elevating  in  a  few  years  a  whole 
community  to  a  point  of  education  and  material  prosperity  which,  unas- 
sisted, they  might  never  have  obtained." 

Yes,  Madam,  a  "sublime  instance,"  you  say,  "of  the  benevolent  em- 
ployment of  superior  wealth  and  power  in  shortening  the  struggles  of 
advancing  civilization."  I  say  yes,  indeed,  the  shortest  process  of  civil- 
ization we  have  recorded  in  the  history  of  nations.  {Oh  marvellous  I ) 
From  the  year  1812  to  1820,  the  whole  interior  of  the  county  of  Suther- 
land, whose  inhabitants  were  advancing  rapidly  in  the  science  of  agricul- 
ture and  education,  who  by  nature  and  exemplary  training  were  the  bravest, 
the  most  moral,  and  patriotic  people  that  ever  existed, — even  admitting  a 
few  of  them  did  violate  the  excise  laws,  (the  only  sin  which  Mr.  Loch  and 
all  the  rest  of  their  avowed  enemies  could  bring  against  them,) — where  a 
body  of  men  could  be  raised  on  the  shortest  possible  notice,  that  kuujs  and 
emptfors  might  and  would  be  i)roud  of;  and  the  whole  fertile  valleys,  and 
straths  which  gave  them  birth,  were  in  due  season  waving  with  corn; 
their  mountains  and  hill  sides  studded  with  sheep  and  cattle;  when  re- 
joicing, felicity,  happiness,  and  true  piety  prevailed;  where  the  marshal 
notes  of  the  bagpipes  sounded  and  reverberated  from  mountain  to  glen,  from 
glen  t-o  mountain:  I  say  marvellous!  in  tight  years  converted  to  a  solitary 
wilderness,  where  the  voice  of  man  praising  God  is  not  to  be  heard,  nor 
the  inmg(^  of  God  upon  man  not  to  be  seen;  where  you  can  set  a  com})a8S 
with  twenty  miles  of  a  radius  uj»on  it,  and  go  round  with  it  full  stretched 
and  not  find  one  acre  of  land  within  the  circumference,  which  came  under 
the  plough  for  the  last  thirty  years,  except  a  few  in  the  parishes  of  Lairg 
and  Tongue, — all  under  mute  brute  animals.  This  is  the  advancement  of 
civilization,  is  it  not  Madam  1  Keturn  now,  with  me,  to  the  beginning  of 
your  elaborate  eulofjt/  on  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  and  if  you  are  open 
to  conviction,  1  think  you  should  be  convinced  that  I  never  publihhed, 
nor  circulated  in  the  American,  English,  or  Scotch  public  prints  any 
ridiculous  absurd  stories  about  her  grace  of  Sutherland.  An  abridgement 
of  my  lucubrations  are  now  in  the  hands  of  the  public,  and  you  may  per- 


92 

use  them.  I  stand  by  them  as  facts,  {stuhhorn  cheils,)  I  can  prove  them 
to  be  so  even  in  this  country,  by  a  cloud  of  living  witnesses,  and  my  read- 
ers will  find  that,  instead  of  bringing  excessive  absurd  accusations  against 
her  Grace,  that  1  have  endeavoured,  in  some  instances,  to  screen  her  and 
her  predecessors  from  the  public  odium  their  own  policy,  and  the  doings 
of  their  servants,  merited.  Moreover,  there  is  thirty  years  since  I  began 
to  expostulate  with  the  house  of  Sutherland  for  their  shortsighted  policy 
in  dealing  with  their  people  as  they  were  doing,  and  it  is  twenty  years 
since  I  began  to  expose  them  publicly,  with  my  real  plain  name,  Donald 
M'Leod  attached  to  each  letter,  and  a  copy  of  the  public  paper  where  it 
appeared,  directed  and  sent  by  post  to  the  Duke  of  Sutherland.  These 
exposing  and  remonstrating  letters  were  published  in  the  Edinburgh  papers 
where  the  Duke  and  his  predecessors  had  their  principal  Scotch  law  agent, 
and  you  may  easily  believe  that  I  was  closely  watched,  so  as  to  find  one 
false  accusation  in  my  letters,  but  they  were  baffled.  I  am  well  aware  that 
every  one  letter  I  have  written  on  the  subject  would  constitute  a  true  libel, 
and  I  knew  the  editors,  printers,  and  pul)lishers  of  these  papers  were  as 
liable  or  responsible  for  true  libel  as  I  was.  But  the  House  of  Sutherland 
could  never  venture  to  raise  an  action  of  damages  against  either  of  us.  In 
1841,  when  I  published  my  first  pamphlet,  I  paid  $4  50,  for  binding  one 
of  them  in  splendid  style,  which  I  sent  by  mail  to  his  grace  the  present 
Duke  of  Sutherland  with  a  complimentary  note,  requesting  him  to  peruse 
it,  and  let  me  know  if  it  contained  anything  ofiensive  or  untrue.  I  never 
received  a  reply,  nor  did  I  expect  it,  yet  I  am  satisfied  that  his  grace  per- 
used it.  I  posted  a  copy  of  it  to  Mr.  Loch,  his  chief  commissioner;  to 
Mr.  W.  Mackenzie,  his  chief  lawyer,  Edinburgh;  and  to  every  one  of 
their  underlinsis,  and- sheep  farmers,  and  ministers  in  the  county  of  Suth- 
erland who  abbetted  the  depopulators,  and  I  challenge  the  whole  of  them 
and  other  literary  scourges  who  aided  and  justified  their  unhallowed  doings, 
to  gainsay  one  statement  I  have  made.  Can  you,  or  any  other  believe, 
that  a  poor  sinner  like  Donald  M'Leod  would  be  allowed  for  so  many  years 
to  escape  with  impunity,  had  he  been  circulating  and  publishing  calum- 
nious absurd  falsehoods  against  such  personages  as  the  House  of  Suther- 
land. No,  I  tell  you,  if  money  could  secure  my  punishment,  without  es- 
tablishing their  own  shame  and  guilt,  that  it  would  be  considered  well 
spent  hmg  ere  now, — they  would  eat  me  in  penny  pies  if  they  could  get 
me  cooked  for  them. 

I  agree  with  you  that  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland  is  a  beautiful  accom- 
plished lady,  who  would  shudder  at  the  idea  of  taking  a  faggot  or  a  burn- 
ing torch  in  her  hand,  to  set  fire  to  the  cottages  of  her  tenants,  and  so 
would  her  predecessor,  the  first  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  her  good  mother; 
likewise  would  the  late  and  present  Dukes  of  Sutherland,  at  least  I  am 
willing  to  believe  that  they  would.  Yet  is  was  done  in  their  name,  under 
their  authority,  to  tljeir  knowledge,  and  with  their  sanction.  The  Dukes 
and  Duchesses  of  Sutherland,  and  those  of  their  depopulating  order,  had 
not,  nor  has  any  call  to  defile  their  pure  hands  in  milder  work  than  to  burn 
people's  houses;  no,  no,  they  had,  and  have  plenty  of  willing  tools  at 
their  beck  to  perform  their  dirty  work.     Whatever  amount  of  humanity 


98 

and  purity  of  heart  the  late  or  the  present  duke  and  duchess  may  possess 
or  be  ascribed  to  them,  we  know  the  class  of  men  from  whom  they  selected 
their  commissioners,  factors  and  underlings.     I  knew  every  one  of  these 
wicked  servants  who  ruled  the  Sutherland  estate  for  the  last  fifty  years, 
and  I  am  justified  in  saying  that  the  most  skilful  phrenologist  and  physi- 
ognomist that  ever  existed  could  not  discern  one  spark  of  humanity  in  the 
whole  of  them,  from  Mr.  Loch  down  to  Donald  Sginos,  or  in  other  words, 
damnable  Donald,  the  name  by  which  he  was  known.     The  most  part  of 
those  vile  executors  of  the  atrocities  I  have  been  describing  are  now  dead,, 
and  to  be  feared  but  not  lamented.     But  it  seems  the  chief  were  left  to 
give  you  all  the  information  you  required  about  British  slavery  and  o])pres- 
sion.     I  have  read  from  speeches  delivered  by  Mr.  Loch  at  public  dinners 
among  his  own  party,  "  that  he  would  never  be  satined  until  the  Gaelic 
language  and  the  Gaelic  people  would  be  extirpated  root  and  branch  from 
the  Sutherland  estate ;  yes,  from  the  highlands  of  Scotland."    He  published 
a  book,  where  he  stated  as  a  positive  fact,  that  "when  he  got  the  manage- 
ment of  the  Sutherland  estate,  that  he  found  408  families  on  the  estate 
who  never  heard  the  name  of  Jesus," — whereas  I  could  make  an  oath  that 
there  were  not  at  that  time,  and  for  ages  prior  to  it,  above  two  families 
within  the  limits  of  the  county  who  did  not  worship  that  name,  and  holy 
Being  every  morning  and  evening.     I  know  there  are  hundreds  in  the 
Canadas  who  will  bear  me  out  in  this  assertion.     I  was  at  the  pulling 
down  and  burning  of  the  house  of  William  Chisholm,  I  got  my  hands 
burnt  taking  out  the  poor  old  woman  from  amidst  the  flames  of  her  once 
comfortable  though  humble  dwelling,  and  a  more  horrifying  and  lamenta- 
ble scene  could  scarcely  be  witnessed.     I  may  say  the  skeleton  of  once  a 
tall,  robust  high-cheek-boned  respectable  woman,  who  had  seen  better  days, 
who  could  neither  hear,  see,  nor  speak,  without  a  tooth  in  her  mouth,  her 
cheek  skin  meeting  in  the  centre,  her  eyes  sunk  out  of  sight  in  their 
sockets,  her  mouth  wide  open,  her  nose  standing  upright  among  smoke 
and  flames,  uttering  piercing  moans  of  distress  and  agony,  in  articulations 
from  which  could  be  only  understood,  Oh,  Dhia,  DJiia,  tend,  teitif— oh  God, 
God,  fire,  fire!     When  she  came  to  the  pure  air  her  bosom  heaved  to 
a  most  extraordinary  degree,  accompanied  by  a  deep  hollow  sound  from 
the  lungs,  comparable  to  the  sound  of  thunder  at  a  distance.     When  laid 
down  ujwn  the  bare,  soft,  mosfe  floor  of  the  roofless  shed,  I  will  never 
forget  the  foam  of  perapinUion  which  emitted  and  covered  the  jiallid  death- 
looking  countenance.     This  was  a  scene,  Madam,  worthy  d  an  artist's 
pencil,  and  of  a  conspicuous  place  on  the  stages  of  tragedy.     Yet  you  call 
this  a   specimen  of  the  ridiculous  stories  which  found  their  way  into 
respectable  prints,  because  Mr.  Loch,  the  chief  actor,  told  you  that  Sellar, 
the  head  executive,  brought  an  action  against  the  sheriff  and  obtained  a 
verdict  for  heavy  damages.     What  a  subterfuge  ;  but  it  will  not  answer 
the  purpose,  *''tfie  bed  ig  too  short  to  stretch  yourscfj]  and  the  coOcn'tiff  too 
narrow   and  short  to  cover  f/ou"     If   you   took   your   information   and 
evidence  upon  which  you  founded  your  Undo  Tom's  cabin  from  such  dis- 
creditable sources,  (as  I  said  Injfore),  who  can  believe  the  one-t€nth  of 
your  novel  1    /  cannot.     I  have  at  my  hand  here  the  grand-child  of  the 


94 

innrderecl  old  woman,  who  recollects  well  of  the  circumstance.  I  have  not 
far  from  me  a  respectable  man,  an  elder  in  the  Free  Church,  who  was 
examined  as  a  witness  at  Scllar's  trial,  at  the  spring  assizes  of  Inverness, 
1816,  which  you  will  find  narrated  in  letters  four  and  five  of  my  work. 
I  think,  Madam,  had  you  the  opportunity  of  seeing  the  scenes  which  I, 
and  hundreds  more,  have  seen,  and  see  the  ferocious  appearance  of  the 
infamous  yajir/,  who  constituted  the  burning  party,  covered  over  face 
and  hands  with  soot  and  ashes  of  the  burning  houses,  cemented  by 
torch  grease  and  their  own  sweat,  kept  continually  drunk  or  half  drunk, 
while  at  work;  and  to  observe  the  hellish  amusements  some  of  them 
would  get  up  for  themselves  and  for  an  additional  pleasure  to  their  leaders. 
The  people's  houses  were  generally  built  upon  declivities,  and  in  many 
cases  not  far  from  pretty  steep  precipices,  they  preserved  their  meal 
in  tight  made  boxes,  or  chests,  as  they  were  called ;  when  this  fiendish 
party  found  any  quantity  of  meal,  they  would  carry  it  between  them  to 
the  brink,  and  dispatch  it  down  the  precipice  amidst  shrieks  and  yells  ; 
this  was  considered  grand  sport  to  see  the  box  breaking  to  atoms  and  the 
meal  mixed  with  the  air.  When  they  would  set  fire  to  a  house,  they 
would  watch  any  of  the  domestic  animals  making  their  escape  from  the 
flames,  such  as  dogs,  cats,  hens  or  any  poultry,  these  were  caught  and 
thrown  back  to  the  flames ;  grand  sport  for  demons  in  human  form. 
I  assure  you  the  Dukes  and  Duchesses  of  Sutherland  had  no  need  to  try 
their  hand  at  burning  houses  while  James  Loch,  William  Young,  Patrick 
Sellar,  Francis  Suther,  John  Horseburgh,  Captain  Kenneth  M'Kay,  and 
Angus  Leslie  were  alive,  nor  while  George  Loch,  George  Gunn,  and  Robt. 
Horseburgh,  <fec.,  is  alive.  Mr.  Seller  (as  I  said  before)  was  brought  to 
trial  for  culpable  homicide  and  tire- raising ;  and  those  dog,  cat,  and  hen 
murderers  who  acted  under  him  and  took  act  and  part  with  him  were  the 
exculpatory  witnesses,  who  saved  his  neck  from  a  sudden  jerk,  or  himself 
from  teasing  oakum  in  the  hulks  for  many  years.  As  to  this  vaunted  letter 
his  "  Grace  received  from  one  of  the  most  determined  ojDposers  of  the 
measures,  who  travelled  in  the  north  of  Scotland  as  editor  of  a  newspaper 
regretting  all  that  he  had  written  on  the  subject,  being  convinced  that  he 
was  misinformed."  I  may  tell  you.  Madam,  that  this  man  did  not  travel 
to  the  north,  or  in  the  north  of  Scotland  as  editor ;  his  name  was  Thomas 
Mullock,  he  came  to  Scotland  a  fanatic  speculator  in  literature  in  search  of 
money,  or  a  lucrative  situation,  vainly  thinking  that  he  would  be  a  dicta- 
tor to  every  editor  in  Scotland,  he  first  attacked  the  immortal  Hugh  Miller 
of  the  Witness,  Edinburgh,  but  in  him  he  met  more  than  his  match.  He 
then  went  to  the  north,  got  hold  of  my  first  pamphlet,  and  by  setting  it 
up  in  a  literary  style,  and  in  better  English  than  I  did,  he  made  a 
splendid  and  promising  appearance  in  the  northern  papers  for  some  time, 
but  he  found  out  that  the  money  expected  was  not  coming  in,  and  he 
found  that  the  hotels,  head  inns,  and  taverns,  would  not  keep  him  up  any 
longer  without  the  prospect  of  being  paid  for  the  past  or  for  the  future.  I 
found  out  that  he  was  hard  up,  and  a  few  of  the  highlanders  in  Edinburgh 
and  myself,  sent  him  from  twenty  to  thirty  pounds  sterling.  When  he 
saw  that  that  was  all  he  was  to  get,  he  at  once  turned  tail  upon  us,  and 


95 

instead  of  expressing  his  gratitude,  he  abused  us  unsparingly,  and 
regretted  that  ever  he  wrote  in  behalf  of  such  a  hungry,  moneyless  class. 
He  smelled  (like  others  we  suspect)  where  the  gold  was  hoarded  up  for 
hypocrites,  and  flatterers,  and  that  one  aj)ologizing  letter  to  his  grace  would 
be  worth  ten  times  as  much  as  he  could  expect  from  the  highlanders  all 
his  lifetime,  and  I  doubt  not  but  it  was,  for  his  apology  for  the  sin  of  mis- 
information got  wide  circulation. 

He  then  went  to  France  and  started  an  English  paper  in  Paris,  and  for 
the  service  he  rendered  Napoleon  in  crushing  republicanism  during  the 
besieging  of  Rome,  &c.,  the  Emperor  presented  him  with  a  Gold  Piiiy 
and  in  a  few  days  afterwards  sent  a  O'endatvie  to  Mullock  with  a  brief 
notice  that  his  service  was  not  any  longer  required,  and  a  warning  to  quit 
France  in  a  few  days,  which  he  had  to  do.  What  became  of  him  after  I 
know  not,  but  very  likely  he  is  dictating  to  young  Loch,  or  some  other 
Mettenitch. 

No  feelings  of  hostile  vindictiveness,  no  desire  to  inflict  chastisement, 
no  desire  to  make  riches,  influenced  my  mind,  i)Ourtraying  the  scenes  of 
havoc  and  misery  which  in  those  past  days  darkened  the  annals  of  Suther- 
lund,  I  write  in  my  own  humble  style  with  higher  aims,  wishing  to  prepare 
the  way  for  demonstrating  to  the  Dukes  of  Sutherland,  and  all  other  High- 
land proprietors,  great  and  small,  that  the  path  of  selfish  aggrandisement 
nnd  oppression,  leads  by  sure  and  inevitable  results,  yea  to  tlie  ruin  and 
I-'stiuction  of  the  blind  and  misguided  oppressors  themselves.  I  consider 
ihe  Duke  himself  victimised  on  a  largo  scale  by  an  incurable  wrong  system 
and  by  being  enthralled  by  wicked  counsellors,  and  servants.  I  have  no 
hesitation  in  saying,  had  his  Grace  and  his  predecessors,  bestowed  one 
lialf  of  the  encouragement  they  had  bestowed  upon  strangers,  uj)on  the 
aborigines,  a  hardy,  healthy,  abstemious  people,  who  lived  ])eaceably  in 
their  primative  habitations,  unaflected  with  the  vices  of  a  subtle  civiliza- 
tion, possessing  little,  but  enjoying  much;  a  race  devoted  to  their  heredi- 
tary chief,  ready  to  abide  by  his  counsels,  a  race  profitable  in  j)eace,  and 
loyal  available  in  war ;  I  say  his  Grace,  the  i)resent  Duko  of  Sutherland, 
and  his  beautiful  Duchess,  would  be  without  compeers  in  the  British 
dominions  their  rents  at  least  doubled,  would  be  as  secure  from  invasion 
and  annoyance  in  Dunrobin  Castle  as  Queen  Victoria  could,  or  can  bo,  in 
her  Highland  residence,  Balmoral,  and  far  safer  than  she  is  in  her 
Knglish  home,  Buckingham  Palace ;  every  man  and  son  of  Sutherland  would 
'  ready,  as  in  the  days  of  yore,  to  shed  the  last  drop  of  blood  in  defence 
of  their  patron,  if  required.  Congratulations,  rejoicings,  dancing  to  the 
marshal  not<;s  of  the  pipes,  would  meet  them  at  the  entrance  to  every 
Olen  and  Strath  in  Sutherlandshire,  accompanied,  surroundcnl,  and 
greeted  as  they  proceeded,  by  the  most  grateful,  devotedly  attached, 
happy,  and  bravest  peasantry,  that  ever  existed;  yes,  but  alasl  where 
there  is  nothing  now  but  desolation  and  the  cries  of  famine  and  want  to 
meet  the  noble  pair,  the  ruins  of  once  comfortable  dwellings,  will  be  seen 
the  land  marks  of  the  furrows  and  ridges  which  yielded  food  to  thousandfl, 
the  footprints  of  the  arch  enemy  of  hunian  happiness,  and  ravager  before, 
after,  and  on  each  side,  solitude,  stillness,  and  (juiet  of  the  cfmve,  disturbed 


96 

only  at  intervals  by  the  yells  of  a  shepherd,  or  fox-hunter,  and  the  bark  of  a 
collie  dog.  Surely  we  must  admit  the  Marquises  and  Dukes  of  the  house  of 
Sutherland  have  been  duped,  and  victimized  to  a  most  extraordinary  and  in- 
creditable  extent,  and  we  have  jNlr.  Loch's  own  words  for  it  in  his  speech  in 
the  House  of  Commons,  June  21st,  1845,  "I  can  state,  as  from  facts,  that 
from  1811  to  1833,  not  one  sixpence  of  rent  has  been  received  from  that 
county;  but  on  the  contrary,  there  has  been  sent  there  for  the  benefit  and 
improvement  of  the  people,  a  sum  exceeding  sixty  thousand  pounds,  ster- 
ling." Now  think  you  of  this  immense  wealth  which  has  been  expended,  I 
am  not  certain,  but  I  think  the  rental  of  the  county  would  exceed  £60,000 
a  year,  you  have  then  from  1811  to  1833,  twenty -two  years,  leaving  them 
at  the  above  figures,  and  the  sum  total  will  amount  to  £1,320,000  expen- 
ded upon  the  self  styled  Sutherland  improvements,  add  to  this  £60,000 
sent  down  to  preserve  the  lives  of  the  victims  of  those  improvements  from 
death  by  famine,  and  the  sum  total  will  turn  out  in  the  shape  of  £1,380,- 
000  ;  it  surely  cost  the  heads  of  the  house  of  Sutherland  an  immense  sum 
of  money  to  convert  the  county  into  the  state  I  have  described  it,  in  a 
former  part  of  this  work,  (and  I  challenge  contradiction),  I  say  the  ex- 
pelling of  the  people  from  their  Glens  and  Straths,  and  huddling  them  in 
motely  groups  on  the  sea-shores,  and  barren  moors,  and  to  keep  them  alive 
there,  and  to  make  them  willing  to  be  banished  from  the  nation,  when  they 
thought  proper,  or  when  they  could  get  a  haul  of  the  public  money,  to  pay 
their  passage  to  America  or  Australia,  cost  them  a  greal  deal.  This 
fabulous  incredible  munificence  of  their  Graces  to  the  people,  I  will  leave 
the  explanation  of  what  it  was,  how  it  was  distributed,  and  the  manner  in 
which  payment  and  refunding  of  the  whole  of  it  was  exacted  off  the  people, 
to  my  former  description  of  it  in  this  work;  yet  I  am  willing  to  admit 
that  a  very  small  portion,  if  any,  of  the  refunding  of  the  amount  sent 
down,  ever  reach  the  Duke's  or  the  Marquis's  coffers,  which  is  easily 
understood  by  not  granting  receipts  for  it.  Whatever  particle  of  good 
the  present  I)uke  might  feel  inclined  to  do,  will  be  ever  frustrated  by  the 
counteracting  energy  of  a  prominent  evil  principle;  I  knew  the  adopting 
and  operations  of  the  Loch  policy  towards  the  Sutherland  peasantry,  cost 
the  present  Duke  and  his  father  many  thousands  of  pounds,  and,  I  pre- 
dict, will  continue  to  cost  them  on  a  large  scale  while  a  Loch  is  at  the 
head  of  their  affairs,  and  principal  adviser.  Besides  how  may  they 
endanger  what  is  far  more  valuable  than  gold  and  silver  ;  for  those  who 
are  advised  by  men  who  never  sought  counsel  or  advice  from  God,  all 
their  lifetime,  as  their  work  will  testify,  do  hazard  much,  and  are  trifling 
with  omniscience, 

You  should  be  surprised  to  hear  and  learn,  Madam,  for  what  purposes 
the  most  of  the  money  drained  from  the  Duke's  coffers  yearly  are  ex- 
pended, since  he  became  the  Duke  and  proprietor  of  Sutherland,  and 
upholding  the  Loch  policy.  There  are  no  fewer  than  seventeen  who  are 
known  by  the  name  of  Water  Bailiffs,  in  the  county,  who  receive  yearly 
salaries,  what  doing,  think  you  ?  protecting  the  operations  of  the  Loch 
policy,  watching  day  and  night  the  fresh  water  lakes,  rivers,  and  creeks, 
teeming  with  the  finest  salmon  and  trout  fish  in  th^  world,  guarding  from 


97 

the  famishing  people,  even  during  the  years  of  famine  and  dire  distress^ 
when  many  had  to  subsist  upon  weeds,  sea  ware,  and  shellfish,  yet  guarded 
and  preserved  for  the  amusement  of  English  anglers ;  and  what  is  still 
more  heai-t-rending,  to  prevent  the  dying  by  hunger  to  pick  up  any  of  the- 
dead  fish  left  by  the  sporting  anglers,  rotting  on  the  lake,  creek,  and 
river  sides,  when  the  smallest  of  them,  or  a  morsel,  would  be  considered 
by  hundreds,  I  may  say  thousands  of  the  needy  natives,  a  treat,  but 
durst  not  touch  them,  or  if  they  did  and  found  out,  to  jail  they  were 
conducted,  or  removed  summarily  from  his  Grace's  domains ;  (let  me  be 
understood,  these  gentlemen  had  no  use  of  the  fish,  only  killing  them  for 
amusement,  only  what  they  required  for  their  own  use,  and  complimented 
to  the  factors,  they  were  not  permitted  to  cure  them). 

You  will  find,  Madam,  that  alxjut  three  miles  from  Dunrobin  Castle 
there  if  a  branch  of  the  sea  which  extends  up  the  county  about  six  miles, 
where  shellfish  called  mussels,  abounds ;  here  you  will  find  there  are  twa 
sturdy  men,  called  mussel  bailiffs,  supplied  with  rifles  and  ammunition 
and  as  many  Newfoundland  dogs  as  assistants,  watching  the  mussel  scalp, 
or  beds,  to  preserve  them  from  the  people  in  the  surrounding  parishes  of 
Dornoch,  Rogart,  and  Golspie,  and  keep  them  to  supply  the  fishermen  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  Moray  Firth  with  bait,  who  come  there  every 
year  and  take  away  thousands  of  tons  of  this  nutritive  shellfish,  when 
many  hundreds  of  the  people  would  be  thankful  for  a  diet  per  day  of  them, 
to  pacify  the  cravings  of  nature.  You  will  find  the  unfortunate  native 
fisherman  who  pays  a  yearly  rent  to  his  Grace  for  bait,  that  they  are  only 
permitted  theirs  from  the  refuse  left  by  the  strangers  of  the  other  side  of 
the  Moray  Firth,  and  if  they  violate  the  iron  rule  laid  down  to  them,  they 
are  entirely  at  the  mercy  of  the  underlings  :  there  has  been  an  instance  of 
two  of  the  fishermen's  wives  going  on  a  snowy,  frosty,  day,  to  gather  bait, 
but  on  account  of  the  boisterous  sea,  could  not  reach  the  place  appointed  by 
the  factors  ;  and  one  took  what  they  required  from  the  forbidden  ground, 
and  was  observed  by  some  of  the  bailiffs  in  ambush,  who  pursued  them  like 
tigers,  one  came  up  to  her  unobserved,  took  out  his  knife  and  cut  the  sti-aps 
by  which  the  basket  or  creel  on  her  back  was  suspended,  the  weight  on 
her  back  fell  to  the  ground,  and  she,  poor  woman,  big  in  the  family  way, 
fell  her  whole  length  forward  in  the  snow  and  frost,  another  turned 
round  to  see  what  happened,  and  he  pushed  her  back  with  such  force  that 
she  fell  her  whole  length;  he  then  trampled /their  baskets  and  mus- 
sels to  atoms,  and  took  them  both  prisioners,  ordered  one  to  go  and  call 
his  superior  bailiff  to  assist  him,  and  kept  the  other  for  two  hours  stand- 
ing wet  as  she  was,  among  frost  and  snow  until  the  superior  came  a  dis- 
tance of  three  miles.  After  a  short  consultation  upon  the  enormity  of 
the  crime,  the  two  poor  women  were  led  like  convicted  criminals  to 
Golspie,  to  appear  before  Licurgus  Gunn,  and  in  that  deplorable  condition 
were  left  standing  before  their  own  doors  in  the  snow,  until  Marshal  Gunn 
found  it  convenient  to  api>ear  to  pronounce  judgment, — verdict;  You  are 
allowed  to  go  into  your  houses  this  night,  this  day  week  you  must  leave 
this  village  forever,  and  the  whole  of  the  fishermen  fo  the  village  are 
strictly  prohibited  from  taking  bait  from  the  Little  Ferry  until  you  leave; 


98 

my  bailiffs  are  requested  to  see  this  my  decree  strictly  attended  to.  Being 
the  middle  of  winter  and  heavy  snow,  they  delayed  a  week  longer:  ulti- 
mately the  \dllagers  had  to  expel  the  two  families  from  among  them,  so  as 
they  would  get  bait,  having  nothing  to  depend  upon  for  subsistence 
but  the  fishing,  and  fish  they  could  not  M'ithout  bait.  This  is  a  specimen 
of  the  injustice  and  subjugation  of  the  Golspie  fishermen,  and  of  the  peo- 
ple at  large  ;  likewise  of  the  purposes  for  which  the  duke's  money  is  ex- 
pended in  that  quarter.  If  you  go  then,  to  the  other  side  of  the  domain, 
you  will  find  another  kyle,  or  a  branch  of  the  sea  which  abounds  in  cockles 
and  other  shellfish,  which,  fortunately  for  the  poor  people,  are  not 
forbidden  by  a  Loch  Ukase.  But  in  the  years  of  distress,  when  the  people 
were  principally  living  upon  vegetables,  sea  weeds  and  shellfish,  various 
diseases  made  their  appearance  among  them,  hitherto  unknown.  The  ab- 
sence of  meal  of  any  kind  being  considered  the  primary  cause  ;  some  of 
the  people  thought  they  would  be  permitted  to  exchange  shellfish  for  meal 
with  their  more  fortunate  neighbours  in  Caithness,  to  Avhom  such  shell- 
fish were  a  rarity,  and  so  far  the  understanding  went  between  them,  that 
the  Caithness  boats  came  up  loaded  with  meal,  but  the  Loch  embargo, 
through  his  underling  in  Tongue,  who  was  watching  their  movements, 
were  at  once  placed  upon  it,  and  the  Caithness  boats  had  to  return  home 
with  the  meal,  and  the  duke's  people  might  die  or  live,  as  they  best  could. 
Now,  Madam,  you  have  steeped  your  brains,  and  ransacked  the  English 
language  to  find  refined  terms  for  your  panegyric  on  the  duke,  duchess, 
and  family  of  Sutherland.  (I  find  no  fault  with  you,  knowing  you  have 
been  well  paid  for  it.)  But  I  would  briefly  ask  you  (and  others  who  de- 
voted much  of  their  time  and  talent  in  the  same  strain,)  would  it  not  be 
more  like  a  noble  pair,  who,  (if  they  did)  merit  such  noble  praise  as  you 
have  bestowed  upon  them,  if  they  had,  especially  during  years  of  famine 
and  distress,  freely  opened  up  all  these  bountiful  resources  which  God  in 
his  eternal  wisdom  and  goodness  prepared  for  his  people,  and  which 
should  never  be  intercepted  nor  restricted  by  man  or  men.  You  and  others 
have  composed  hymns  of  praise,  which  it  is  questionable  if  there  is  a  tune 
in  heaven  to  sing  -them  to. 

So  I  returned,  and  considered  all  the  oppressions  that  are  done  under  the  sun: 
and  behold  the  tears  of  such  as  were  oppressed,  and  they  had  no  comforter  ;  and 
on  the  side  of  their  oppressors  there  was  power ;  but  they  had  no  comforter — Ec- 
CLES.  iv.l. 

'*  The  wretch  that  works  and  weeps  without  relief 

Has  one  that  notices  his  silent  grief. 

He,  from  whose  hands  alone  all  pow'r  proceeds, 

Eanks  its  abuse  among  the  foulest  deeds, 

Considers  all  injustice  with  a  frown, 

But  marks  the  man  that  treads  his  fellow  down. 

Remember  Heav'n  has  an  avenging  rod — 

To  smite  the  poor  is  treason  against  God." — Cowper. 

But  you  shall  find  the  duke's  money  is  expended  for  most  astonishing 
purposes ;  not  a  little  of  it  goes  to  hire  hypocrites  and  renowned  literary 
flatterers,  to  vindicate  the  mal-ad ministration  of  those  to  whom  he  en- 
trusted the  management  of  his  affairs,  and  make  his  grace,  (who  is  by 


99 

nature  a  simple-minded  man)  believe  his  servants  are  innocent  of  all  the 
charges  brought  against  them,  and  doing  justice  to  himself  and  to  hig 
people,  when  they  are  doing  the  greatest  injustice  to  both;  so  that  in- 
stead of  calling  his  servants  to  account  at  any  time,  and  enquiring  into 
the  broad  charges  brought  against  them — as  every  wise  landlord  should 
do — it  seems  the  greater  the  enormities  of  foul  deeds  they  commit,  and 
the  louder  their  accusation  may  sound  through  the  land,  the  farther  they 
are  received  into  his  favour.  The  fact  is,  that  James  Loch  was  Duke 
of  Sutherland,  and  not  the  "tall,  slender  man  with  rather  a  thin  face, 
light  brown  hair,  and  mild  blue  eyes"  who  armed  you  up  the  extraor- 
dinary elegant  staircase  in  Stafford  House:  and  Geordy  Loch,  his  son, 
succeeded  his  father,  and  the  duke  will  have  no  more  control  over 
him  than  he  had  over  the  old  fox.  The  Duke  of  Sutherland  would 
neither  need  foreign  or  home  eulogisers,  were  it  not  for  the  unhallowed 
crew  he  has  chosen  to  manage  his  affairs.  Read  the  following  humble 
appeal  of  his  grace  for  a  certificate  of  character.  In  the  year  1848, 
"Duke  of  Sutherland,  and  those  entrusted  with  the  management  of  his 
vast  possessions,  preferred  a  somewhat  queer  request  to  the  Highland 
Distribution  Committee,  viz.  for  *the  service  of  the  Committee's  staff' 
to  report  whether  he,  [his  gi-ace]  had  adequately  fulfilled  his  self-imposed 
responsibilities."  That  the  Duke  should  require  a  certificate  of  good 
behaviour  towards  his  people  is  undoubtedly  a  little  odd  indeed,  and  at 
the  expense  of  a  public  charity ;  but  such  was  the  case,  and  Captain 
Elliot,  Inspector  General  of  the  Board,  received  orders  "to  attend  to  the 
duke's  wishes."  The  result  of  the  Captain's  mission  to  Sutherland  was 
a  high  flown  report,  extolling  the  ducal  bounty  towards  his  Sutherlanders, 
which  utterly  excluded  the  necessity  of  any  aid  from  the  Committee,  al- 
though he  knew  well  that  hundreds  of  bolls  of  the  charity  meal  were 
there  at  that  time,  but  which  was  studiously  kept  out  of  view,  that  the 
duke  might  have  the  honour  and  praise  of  supporting  his  peo})le.  But 
what  was  my  surprise  to  find  in  the  next  published  proceedings  of  the 
Committee,  a  correspondence  with  Mr.  Loch,  M.P.,  the  duke's  pre- 
mier, who  put  the  Committee  in  mind  that  his  grace  had  formerly  sub- 
scribed £1000  to  the  fund,  and  conjoined  with  this  reminiscence,  a  sup- 
plication to  the  committee  to  grant  his  noble  employer  the  sum  of  £3500 
to  help  towards  the  relief  of  the  poor  people  of  Sutherland.  Subse- 
quently the  duke's  petition  was  acceded  to,  with  this  preconcerted  modi- 
fication, namely,  that  the  money  was  not  to  be  expended  for  the  relief 
of  the  poor  Sutherlanders,  but  "on  the  formation  of  a  road  bisecting  his 
grace's  territory  in  the  most  favourable  direction,"  (Mr.  Loch's  own 
words.)  The  premier  goes  then  to  prove  the  vast  utility  of  the  road  in 
question,  (planned  by  himself,  and  to  be  executed  by  the  Committee,)  it 
being  designed  to  stretch  from  Inchnadamp  in  Assynt,  to  the  boundary 
of  the  county  of  Caithness.  Now,  Madam,  1  can  tell  you,  and  hundreds 
of  my  countrymen  in  Canada,  and  thousands  of  them  at  home  can  tell 
you,  (as  I  have  said  before)  that  not  one  single  native  of  Sutherland  will 
ever  reap  any  benefit  of  this  road,  every  inch  of  it  going  through  a  soli- 
tary wilderness,  and  deer  forests,  where  mou  are  forbidden  to  travel, — 


100 

exclusively  for  the  benefit  of  his  grace's  deer  stalkers,  game  keepers, 
and  shepherds. 

It  is  evident  from  the  above  correspondence  between  the  dishonour- 
able Celtic  hater  aud  destroyer,  Mr.  Locli,  and  the  audacious  trust  be- 
traying, base,  Edinburgh  Committee,  that  there  was  pre-arrangement  be- 
tween the  unprincipled  parties  to  increase  his  grace's  riches,  with  £3500 
of  poor  famishing  people's  money.  Yes,  with  a  sum  which  would  make 
3400  destitute  families  sing  for  joy  by  the  distribution  of  this  amount 
among  them.  (Another  report  which  was  latterly  published  in  the 
Edinburgh  papers,  states  that  his  grace  got  £6000.)  These  are  unde- 
niable facts ;  but  who  can  believe  that  it  could  be  endured  in  christian- 
ised Scotland ;  that  an  owner  of  such  large  possessions  should  be  so  un- 
scrupulously voted  such  a  sum,  out  of  the  funds  gathered  from  the 
benevolent  in  every  quarter  of  the  globe.  Did  Scotch  private  soldiers 
under  the  tropics  subscribe  out  of  their  scanty  pay,  to  enable  the  notori- 
ous Mr.  Skene,  and  his  committee,  to  takethe  free  gift  of  £6000,  or  even 
£3500  of  the  relief  distribution  money  to  make  a  road  from  Inchnadamp, 
in  Assynt,  to  Caithness,  exclusively  for  his  own  use,  or  to  any  other 
Highland  proprietor ;  yet  according  to  the  reports  of  the  infamous  com- 
mittee, obscure  as  they  were  studiously  kept,  they  show  that  after  the 
ducal  and  lordly  gifts  were  granted,  the  net  balance  at  the  credit  of  the 
Treasurer  was  £38,000,  and  the  bulk  of  this  balance  in  hand  was 
dedicated  to  the  relief  of  Highland  distressed  proprietors,  leaving 
a  discretionary  power  with  themselves  [the  committee]  to  hand  it  over 
to  those  who  they  in  their  judgment  considered  most  needful  and  de- 
serving ;  (but  the  short  of  it  is,  to  their  own  nearest  relations  and  great- 
est favourites.)  Of  this  sum  we  find  in  their  own  reports  that  Dundonnel], 
a  Rosshire  proprietor,  got  £1756  :  we  have  Mr.  Skene's  (a  distant  rela- 
tive of  Dundonnell)  own  words  for  it  as  '*  bonus  on  account  of  the  great 
outlay  as  an  individual  proprietor  had  made,  and  £1500  for  road  making." 
Then  pleasingly  writes  the  accomodating  Secretary,  Skene,  to  the  High- 
land road  requiring  proprietors,  "The  broad  offer  to  contribute  one 
third  of  the  expenses  in  meal,  although  I  doubt  not  if  money  would  be 
preferred  this  would  be  no  obstacle."  That  roads  were  and. are  needed 
in  the  Highlands  none  \vill  deny,  and  that  able  bodied  men  in  want,  and 
could  not  get  employment  should  work  at  these  roads  none  should  op- 
pose. But  I  strenuously  contend  that  if  men  were  required  to  render  a 
full  amount  of  labour,  they  were  entitled  to  an  equitable  proportion  of 
wages.  It  was  monstrous  to  administer  a  fund  unconditionally  subscrib- 
ed for  the  relief  of  the  destitute,  upon  the  principle  that  the  poor  crea- 
tures were  to  be  fully  worked,  and  in  requittal,  were  to  be  only  half  fed. 
Never  was  there  a  more  fatal  failure,  than  in  the  mal-administration  of 
that  magnificent  fund  intended  for  the  relief  and  welfare  of  the  afflicted 
Highland  population.  Never  were  the  malversation  of  Highland  proprie- 
tors and  underlings,  more  odiously  discerned  and  exhibited  to  the  world 
than  in  this  case.  Not  being  satisfied  plundering  the  people  by  every 
system  and  plan  that  the  Satanic  council  could  devise,  against  which  the 
people  contended  for  at  least  this  last  seventy  years,  struggling  against 


101 

many  adverse  circumstances,  casualties  of  the  season,  and  tyrannical  ex- 
actions, often  in  want,  but  not  repining  or  complaining,  until  ultimately  they 
became  helpless,  and  as  it  were,  fell  into  the  slough  of  despondency,  en 
77iasse ;  when  their  long  endurance  came  to  an  end,  despair  took  hold  of 
their  souls,  and  clamour  for  food  was  the  result ;  appeal  after  appeal  was 
made  to  the  public  in  their  behalf,  which  was  responded  to ;  yet  when 
a  christian  world  came  in  a  glorious  manner  to  their  rescue  frdm  death 
by  famine,  we  find  a  set  of  rapacious  Highland  proprietors  coming  for- 
ward and  placing  their  unhallowed  hands  upon  the  world's  gift,  and  as 
if  they  in  audible  terms  or  words  swore  by  heaven,  we  shall  not  allow 
this.  Neither  they  did,  for  by  examining  minutely  the  distribution  of 
the  fund  you  will  find  that  they  pocketed  two-thirds  of  the  whole  :  in  the 
first  place,  they  got  three-fourths  of  the  meal  bought  for  the  people,  to 
impiove  their  estates,  and  they  exacted  (agreeable  to  the  Trevellyan  test 
scheme)  ten  hours  labour  for  every  pound  of  adulterated  meal.  Now, 
taking  able  bodied  men's  wages  at  the  lowest  figure.  Is.  6d.  per  day,  you 
find  the  lairds  gained  Is,  6d.  per  day  of  every  man  they  employed,  be- 
sides reaping  the  benefits  of  the  improvements.  Then  the  road-making 
gifts,  which  they  let  to  the  competition  of  needy  and  greedy  unfeeling 
contractors,  where  men  were  not  much  better  paid  nor  dealt  with  than 
they  were  with  the  lairds — just  a  bare  subsistence.  Ah !  what  a  for- 
tunate famine  this  was  for  the  Highland  proprietors,  especially  to  those 
of  extensive  domains,  and  favourites  of  Mr.  Skene  and  his  committee. 
I  assure  you  they  should  pray  for  a  return  of  it  every  seven  yeai-s. 

Now,  Madam,  I  am  about  done  with  you  at  this  time,  but  before  closing 
I  would  ask  you,  can  you  believe  that  the  proprietor  of  Stafford  House, 
which  you  have  so  elaborately  pourtrayed.  whose  elegance  and  surap- 
tuousness  threw  all  the  grandeur  which  ever  you  have  seen  in  America 
into  insignificance,  and  which  threw  youi-self  into  a  nervous  rapture  of 
admiration,  which  you  could  not  withstand,  until  the  proprietrix  mistress 
of  the  robe  conveyed  you  to  a  pri\ate  room,  and  eased  you  by  whisper- 
ing in  j^our  ear,  "  Dear  me,  Mrs.  Stowe,  be  not  concerned  so  much  or  so 
much  embarra.ssed  in  your  mind,  at  the  sight  of  this  select  company  and 
of  the  splendour  of  the  house  ;  I  assure  you,  though  beautiful,  we  are  not 
anr/eU,  we  are  all  mortal  beings ;  and  though  the  house  is  splendid  it  is 
not  heaven,  but  earthly  materials,"  or  some  soothing  words  to  that  ofTect, 
that  brought  you  back  again  to  your  senses.  I  say  could,  or  can  you 
believe  that  if  there  was  the  least  8i)eak  of  the  grace  of  God  in  the  soul 
of  His  Gitice  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  and  his  Duchess,  or  yet  of  hu- 
manity and  common  honesty,  would  they  lower  and  degrade  their  position 
in  society,  their  name  and  titles  among  the  nobles,  so  as  to  become  the 
most  conspicuous  among  these  villainous  Highland  plunderers  of  the 
poor,  and  receive  double  the  amount  of  any  of  the  rest,  of  the  booty  1 
No,  Madam,  neither  could  I  believe  it  myself,  were  it  not  that  I  knew 
the  simple  minded  duke,  in  all  his  affairs  is  advised  by  the  vilest  of  the 
vile,  and  the  lowest  of  the  low  in  principle. 

These  are  stern  facts,  t  must  allow,  but  they  are  beyond  contradiction, 
and  should  not  be  concealed,  but  merit  universal  reprobation  and  public 


102 

censure.  Public  confidence  has  been  shamefully  abused,  the  poor  have 
been  cheated,  degraded,  and  I  may  say  demoralised ;  the  funds  intended 
and  provided  for  the  indigent  poor  have  been  squandered  upon  a  need- 
less useless  staff  of  pampered  officials,  and  Highland  proprietors.  You 
may  praise  them,  and  admire  them  and  their  palaces  as  much  as 
you  please,  but  the  denunciations  of  the  sacred  volume  condemn  the  op- 
pressors of  the  poor,  their  abettors  and  apologisers,  to  their  faces,  and 
you  cannot  silence  them.  Should  such  a  calamity  overtake  the  High- 
landers again,  where  will  they  look  for  commiseration  or  aid  after  this 
iniquitious  abuse  1  I  answer,  let  them  trust  in  God,  as  Cromwell  used 
to  say,  and  keep  their  powder  dry  ;  I  say  let  them  take  what  they  can 
get,  and  where  they  can  get  it.  Let  them  not  leave  a  bull,  cow,  or  bul- 
lock ;  ram,  sheep,  or  lamb ;  deer,  or  roe ;  blackcock,  hen,  or  pheasant ; 
moor-cock,  hen,  or  snipe,  &c,,  feeding  and  fattening  upon  the  straths 
and  glens  which  should  be  rearing  corn  and  cattle  for  them  and  families: 
and  take  all  the  salmon  and  trout  which  is  provided  for  them  in  the  rivers 
and  lakes  upon  which  they  can  lay  hands  on,  muscles  and  cockles  to  boot, 
("Hunger,"  say  a  Highland  proverb,  has  "long  arms,"  and  Bacon  says 
'^  rebellion  of  the  belly  is  worst,")  and  then  their  spoilers  and  monopo- 
lizers of  every  provision  God  has  provided  for  the  Celtic  race  in  the 
Highlands  of  Scotland,  will  soon  come  to  their  right  senses.  I  see  no 
other  alternative,  unless  the  nation  will  step  in  and  demand  retribution 
for  past  wrongs,  and  secure  even-handed  justice  for  the  people  in  future. 
What  did  I  say,  retribution  for  past  wrongs,  and  secure  justice  for  the 
people  in  future  ?  hundreds  will  confer  upon  me  a  derisive  laugh,  and 
bawl  out  XJtopianism.  But  allow  me  to  allude  to  an  historical  parallel. 
After  the  conquest,  the  Norman  kings  afforested  a  large  portion  of  the 
soil  of  conquered  England,  in  much  the  same  way  as  the  landlords  are 
now  doing  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  To  such  an  extent  was  this 
practice  carried  on,  that  an  historian  informs  us,  that  in  the  reign  of 
King  John,  "  the  greater  part  of  the  kingdom  "  was  turned  into  forest, 
and  that  so  multiform  and  oppressive  were  the  forest  laws,  that  it  was 
impossible  for  any  man  who  lived  within  the  boundaries  to  escape  falling 
a  victim  to  them.  To  prepare  the  land  for  these  forests,  the  people  were 
required  to  be  driven,  in  many  cases,  as  in  the  Highlands,  at  the  point 
of  the  bayonet ;  and  notwithstanding  what  Voltaire  has  said  to  the  con- 
trary, cultivated  lands  were  laid  waste,  villages  were  destroyed,  and  the 
inhabitants  extirpated.  Distress  ensued,  and  discontent  followed  as  na- 
tural consequences.  But  observe,  the  Norman  kings  did  all  this  in  vir- 
tue of  their  feudal  supremacy;  and  in  point  of  law  and  right,  were 
better  entitled  to  do  it  than  the  Highland  lairds  are  to  imitate  their  ex- 
ample in  the  present  day.  Was  it,  however,  to  be  tolerated  1  were  the 
people  to  groan  for  ever  under  his  oppression  1  No.  The  English 
Barons  gave  a  practical  reply  to  these  questions  at  Ruinieymede,  which 
it  is  unnecessary  to  detail.  King  John  did  cry  out  Utopian  at  first,  but 
was  compelled  to  disafforest  the  land,  and  restore  it  to  its  natural  and 
appropriate  use ;  and  the  records  of  that  great  day's  proceedings  are  uni- 
versally esteemed   as  one    of  the    brightest  pages   in  English    history. 


103 

With  this  great  example  Ixjfore  their  eyes,  let  the  most  conservative 
pause  before  they  yield  implicit  faith  in  the  doctrine  that  every  one  of 
them  may  do  with  his  land  as  he  pleases.  The  fundamental  principle  of 
land  tenure  are  unchanged  since  the  days  of  Magna  Charta ;  and  how- 
ever much  the  tendency  of  modern  ideas  may  have  cast  these  principles 
into  oblivion,  they  are  still  deeply  graven  in  the  constitution,  and  if  ne- 
cessity called,  would  be  found  as  strong  and  operative  in  the  present 
day  as  they  were  five  centuries  ago.  If  the  barons  could  compel  the 
sovereign  to  open  his  forests,  surely  the  sovereign  may  more  orderly 
compel  the  barons  to  open  theirs,  and  restore  them  to  their  natural  and 
appropriate  use ;  and  there  is  a  power  behind  the  throne  which  impels 
and  governs  all.  These  are  dee})  questions  that  should  be  stirred  in  the 
country,  in  the  midst  of  extremities  and  abuse  of  power.  For  it  is  im- 
possible for  any  one  to  travel  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  and  cast  his 
eyes  about  him  without  feeling  inwardly  that  such  a  crisis  is  approaching, 
and  indeed  consider  it  should  arrive  long  ago.  Sufierings  have  been  in- 
flicted in  the  Highlands  as  severe  as  occasioned  by  the  policy  of  the 
brutal  Norman  kings  in  England ;  deer  have  extended  ranges,  while 
men  have  been  hunted  within  a  narrower  and  still  narrower  circle.  The 
strong  has  fainted  in  the  race  for  life ;  the  old  have  been  left  to  die. 
One  after  another  of  their  liberties  have  been  cloven  down.  To  kill  a 
fish  in  the  stream,  or  a  wild  beast  in  the  hill  is  a  transportable  crime,  even 
in  the  time  of  famine.  Even  to  travel  through  the  fenceless  forest  is  a 
crime ;  paths  which  at  one  time  linked  hamlet  to  hamlet  for  ages  have 
been  shut  and  barred.  These  oppressions  are  daily  on  the  increase,  and 
if  pushed  much  further,  (I  should  say  if  not  speedily  and  timely  pushed 
back)  it  is  obvious  that  the  sufierings  of  the  people  will  reach  a  pitch, 
•when  action  will  be  the  plainest  duty,  and  the  most  sacred  instinct.  To 
prevent  such  forbidden  calamity,  permit  me  to  address  a  few  lines  to  Her 
Majesty. 

Come  Victoria,  Queen  of  Great  Britain,  Berwick-upon-Tweed,  and 
Ireland ;  thou,  the  most  beloved  of  all  Sovereigns  upon  earth,  in  whose 
bosom  and  veins  the  blood  of  the  Stunrts,  the  legitimate  Sovei'(M*gns  of 
Scotland  is  freely  circulating ;  who  hath  endeared  thyself  to  thy  Celtic 
lieges  in  a  peculiar  manner,  stretch  forth  thy  Royal  hand  to  preserve 
that  noble  race  from  extirpation,  and  becoming  extinct,  and  to  protect 
them  from  the  violence,  oppression,  and  spoilation  to  which  they  have 
been  subjected  for  many  years.  Bear  in  mind,  tliat  this  is  tlui  race  in 
whom  your  forefathers  couHded,  entrusted  and  depended  so  much  at  all 
times,  esj)ecially  when  a  foreign  invatler  threatened  and  attempted  to 
take  possession  of  the  Scotch  throne  ;  and  never  trusted  to  them  in  vain. 
And  though  they  unfortunately  divided,  upon  which  of  the  Stuart  family 
was  to  rule  over  them,  and  much  valuable  blood  shed  on  that  account ; 
yet  the  impartial  investigator  into  that  affair  will  find  the  7.<*al,  )>atriotiKm 
and  loyalty  of  each  party  meriting  equal  praise  and  anlmiration,  though 
the  butchers,  antl  literary  scourges  of  the  defeatetl  party  convort<'d  the 
praise  and  loyalty  due  to  them,  into  calumny  and  abuse.  But  these 
gloomy  days  of  strife  and  murder  are  over,  and  the  defeated  consider 


104 

that  they  sustained  no  loss  but  that  they  gained  much ;  and  I  assure  your 
majesty  that  your  name  is  now  imprinted  upon  every  Scotch  Highlander's 
heart  in  letters  more  valuable  than  gold,  and  that  the  remnant  of  them 
still  left,  are  as  willing  and  as  ready  to  shed  their  blood  for  the  honour 
and  dignity,  of  your  crown,  and  the  safety  of  your  person  and  family,  as 
their  fathers  were  for  your  grandsires.  Then  allow  not  this  noble  race 
to  be  extirpated,  nor  deteriorated  in  their  soul,  mind,  chivalry,  charac- 
ter, and  persons;  allow  it  not,  your  majesty,  to  be  told  in  "Gath,"  nor 
published  in  the  streets  of  Askelon,  that  other  nations  have  to  feed  and 
keep  alive  your  Highland  Scotch  warriors,  while  you  require  their  ser- 
vice in  the  battle  field;  while  the  nursery  where  these  brave  men,  who 
carried  many  a  laurel  to  the  British  crown  from  foreign  strands,  are  now 
converted  to  game  preserves,  hunting  parks,  and  lairs  for  wild  animals. 
Come  them,  like  a  God  fearing,  God  loving  and  Christian  queen ;  like  a 
subject-loving  and  beloved  Sovereign,  and  demand  the  restitution  of 
their  inalienable  rights  to  your  Highland  lieges,  and  the  restoration  of 
the  Highland  straths  and  glens  to  their  natural  and  appropriate  use. 
Examine  like  "-4/ia5we?'o?/5,"  the  book  of  records  of  the  chronicles,  and 
:find  what  service  the  Highlanders  rendered  you  and  your  forefathers,  and 
how  they  are  requited.  "Who  knoweth  whether  thou  art  come  to  the 
kingdom  for  such  a  time  as  this?"  and  "how  can  you  endure  to  see  the 
evil  that  came  upon  your  people,  or  how  can  you  endure  to  see  the  de- 
struction of  your  kindred?"  people,  and  then  like  good  Queen  Esther, 
declare  boldly  and  publicly  that  you  shall  not  have  a  Hamanite,  or  a  Ha- 
manitess  about  your  person,  in  your  household,  or  in  your  council.  I  know 
many  of  them  will  raise  a  Rob  Roy  cry,  when  the  real  owner  of  the  cat- 
tle he  has  taken  away,  came  and  got  possession  of  them,  (I  am  plundered 
-of  my  just  rights.)  Highland  proprietors  hold  the  lands  and  other  rights 
they  plundered  of  the  people,  on  the  principle  that  Rob  Roy  maintainad 
his  right  to  the  cattle  he  stole  from  his  distant  neighbour  in  Badenoch. 
But  the  day  is  drawing  nigh  when  these  rank  delusions  in  high  quarters 
will  be  dispelled.  It  is  a  Satanic  imposture,  that  the  stewardsliip  of 
Ood's  soil  is  freely  convertible  into  a  mischievous  power  of  oppressing 
the  poor.  The  proper  use  of  property  is  to  make  property  useful ; 
where  this  is  not  done,  it  were  better  for  land  owners  to  have  been  born 
beggars,  than  to  live  in  luxury  while  causing  the  wretched  to  want  and 
weep.  I  know  that  if  our  Sovereign  Lady  was  to  make  such  a  demand 
as  this,  that  she  would  incur  the  ire  and  displeasure  of  the  turf  and 
sporting  classes,  (a  consuming  but  not  a  producing  body)  the  most  des- 
tructive, vicious,  cruel,  disorderly,  unvirtuous,  revelling,  and  the  most 
useless  of  all  her  Majesty's  subjects.  On  the  other  hand  her  Majesty 
would  gain  for  herself  the  praise  and  admiration  of  all  the  most  wise, 
prudent,  liberal,  humane,  virtuous  and  most  exemplary  of  the  nation ; 
the  blessings  of  the  people  and  of  heaven  would  rest  ujdou  her,  and  re- 
main with  her,  and  Highland  proprietors,  their  children,  and  children's 
children  would  have  cause  to  hold  her  name  and  memory  in  grateful 
recollection.  Their  estates  would  in  a  few  years  double  their  rents,  and 
they  and  their  heirs  wpuldbe.  redeemed  from  insolvency,  and  secured 


105 

from  beggary.  The  poor  law  would  become  a  dead  letter.  The  poach- 
ing game  law  expenditure,  along  with  many  other  unrighteous  laws, 
which  are  hanging  heavily  upon  the  nation,  would  fall  to  disuse  ;  the  peo- 
ple would  prosper,  and  nothing  would  be  lost  but  hunting  grounds  for 
the  younger  branches  of  the  aristocracy  and  English  snobs,  and  that 
same  could  easily  be  supplied  by  Her  Majesty  directing  the  attention  of 
this  cruel,  cowardly  class  to  the  Hudson's  Bay  and  Nor'  West  Terri- 
tories, where  they  might  have  plenty  of  useful  sport,  destroying  animals 
much  of  their  own  disposition,  though  not  half  so  injurious.  In  conclu- 
ding this  long  letter  to  you  Madam,  permit  me  to  tell  you  my  opinion  of 
you  on  your  landing  in  Britian,  after  taking  notice  of  the  parties  who  in- 
vited you,  and  with  whom  you  have  associated,  and  the  i)arties  you  have 
shunned,  as  if  unclean  or  unworthy  of  your  society  and  countenance. 
I  concluded  at  once  your  service  for  the  emancipation  of  the  American 
slaves  was  for  ever  lost,  and  not  only  lost,  but  be  the  means  to  screw 
their  chains  tighter  than  ever  they  were  l>efore.  Is  there  a  class  under 
heaven  this  day  more  unlikely  to  have  any  influence  over  the  minds  of 
republic  Americans  than  English  inhuman,  ambitious,  slave  making  aris- 
tocracy 1  I  answer,  no,  no!  Hence  I  was  convinced  that  English  gold 
was  your  main  object.  But  had  you  come  to  Britain,  and  got  up  an 
Uncle  Donald,  Uncle  Jock,  and  Uncle  Geordy's  Cabin,  where  you 
would  not  need  colouring^  nor  steep  your  brains  to  get  up  sublime  false- 
liood,  and  impossible  achievements  of  runaway  slaves,  where  the  naked 
unvarnished  truths  were  more  than  could  be  believed.  Then  to  return 
with  these  British  cabins  to  the  United  States  you  would  have  a  good 
chance  to  reap  as  rich  a  harvest  of  them  in  the  States,  as  you  have  reaped 
of  Uncle  Tom  in  Britain,  and  establish  your  name  and  memory  immor- 
tal and  unsullied.  Forming  these  opinions,  I  published  the  following  let- 
ter in  the  ^^ Northern  Ensign"  newspaper,  Wick,  and  addressed  a  copy  of 
it  to  you: — 

Sir. — In  my  last,  of  the  18th  ult.,  upon  the  late  member  for  the 
Northern  Burghs,  I  stated  that  I  was  not  half  through,  but  that  I  would 
need  to  forbear.  The  Stafford  House  meeting  has  diverted  my  attention 
at  present  from  following  up  the  subject  as  I  intended,  so  as  to  make  the 
best  use  I  can  of  this  aristocratic  movement  in  behalf  of  the  African 
slaves  while  it  was  warm  i)efore  the  public.  Many  thanks  to  you  and 
your  Perth  correspondent  for  your  talented  comments  upon  the  hollo>v 
hypocrisy  of  this  meeting  and  the  injurious  effects  it  will  have,  if  their 
(so  called)  Christian  affectionate  address,  headed  by  the  Duchess  of 
Sutherland,  her  two  daughters  of  Argyle  and  Blantyre,  Duchess  of 
Bedford,  Lady  Trevellyan,  Lady  John  Kussell,  and  many  more,  be  pre- 
sented to  their  sistera,  the  ladies  of  Amenca. 

I  believe  your  Perth  correspondent  has  given  us  the  true  brief  ver- 
sion or  exact  reply  of  the  American  ladies  to  this  affectionate  address — 
*Look  at  homo.'  But  1  must  go  further  und  instruct  the  American  la- 
dirs  in  what  they  should  tell  their  English  sisters  to  look  at,  at  home. 
Not  with  a  view  to  justify  the  American  traffic  in  Iiuman  Iwings — God 
forbid,  but  merely  to  tell  them  that  they  9pii  'fnetK^  this  feminine,  Eng- 


^  C3  .5 


106 

lish,  Christian,  affectionate  appeal,  with  the  same  argument  that  the  Can- 
nibal Queen  met  a  French  philosopher  when  he  was  remonstrating  with 
her  upon  the  hateful,  horryifying,  and  forbidden  practice  of  eating  hu- 
man flesh,  and  recommending  her  to  discontinue  and  forbid  the  practice 
in  her  dominions.  'Well,'  replied  the  Cannibal  Queen,  '  Yolaire,  what 
is  the  difterence  between  your  people  and  us]  You  kill  men,  and  allow 
them  to  rot;  we  kill  men,  and  to  crown  our  victory  we  eat  them,  and 
we  find  them  as  good  for  food  as  any  other  flesh;  besides,  our  law  de- 
mands of  us  to  eat  our  enemies.'  Now,  Sir,  though  two  blacks  will 
never  make  a  white,  yet  the  American  ladies  may  justly  reply  and  ask 
their  English  sisters,  'What  is  the  difference  between  you  and  usi  We 
buy  black  African  slaves;  but  when  we  buy  them,  we  feed,  clothe  and 
house  them.  No  doubt  some  of  us  whip  them  at  times  for  disobedience 
or  for  our  own  caprice ;  but  we  heal  their  stripes,  and  take  care  of  them, 
that  they  may  do  our  work.  But  you,  English  sisters,  you  make 
white  slaves  paupers  and  beggars;  and  when  you  make  them  this,  by 
depriving  them  of  all  means  to  live  by  their  own  industry,  then  you  turn 
them  adrift — you  i-aze,  plough-i/p,  or  bum  down  their  habitations,  and 
allow  them  to  die  (in  hundreds,)  the  agonizing,  lingering  death  of  star- 
vation on  the  road-sides,  ditches,  and  open  fields.  Dear  sisters,  look  at 
the  history  of  Ireland  for  the  last  six  or  seven  years,  and  you  will  see 
how  many  thousands  you  have  allowed  to  die  by  hunger;  and  consider 
how  many  thousands  more  you  would  have  allowed  to  die  a  similar  death, 
had  we  not  come  to  their  rescue,  and  sent  them  food  until  we  could  re- 
move them  from  your  tender  mercy  and  from  your  territories,  to  feed, 
clothe,  and  house  them,  and  to  find  employment  and  fair  remuneration 
for  their  labour  among  ourselves.  Look  for  instance  at  an  Irishman 
arraigned  at  the  bar  of  justice  for  sheep-stealing,  and  his  counsel  offering 
to  prove  that  before  he  stole  the  sheep,  three  of  his  children  2:)erished  for 
want  of  food,  and  in  the  case  of  the  last  of  them  who  died  a  sucking 
infant,  the  mother  peeled  the  flesh  off  its  legs  and  arms;  she  boiled  it, 
and  both  she  and  her  husband  (the  prisoner)  ate  it  to  save  their  own 
lives,  and  the  mother  died  soon  after.  At  this  time  you,  our  English  sis- 
ters, were  riding  upon  chariots,  rolling  smoothly  over  your  extensive, 
uncultivated,  depopulated  domains,  upon  the  wheels  of  splendour,  and 
cushions  of  the  finest  texture,  and  your  husbands,  sons,  and  daughters 
sharing  of  your  festivities,  luxuries,  and  unnecessary  grandeur ;  expend- 
ing more  money  and  human  food  upon  useless  dogs  and  horses  than 
would  have  saved  thousands  of  the  poor  useful  Irish  (with  the  image  of 
God  upon  them)  from  a  premature  agonizing  death.  We  have  read 
with  horror  of  one  of  your  husbands  urging  with  might  and  main  upon 
the  government  (who  bestirred  themselves  at  the  time  for  fear  the  famine 
might  cause  disease  among  the  Irish  landlords,)  to  feed  the  people  with 
curry  jyoivder-;  and  you  must  recollect,  when  the  curry  powder  scheme  of 
destroying  the  Irish  could  not  be  approved  of,  that  Sir  A.  Trevellyan  was 
sent  over  to  Ireland  with  the  test  starving  commission,  and  conducted  the 
Irish  destruction  with  more  humanity,  for  he  allowed  one  pound  of  meal 
as  meat  and  wages  for  every   starving  Irishman  who  would  work  ten 


107 

hours  per  day  at  making  roads,  draining,  and  improving  the  estates  of 
Irish  landlords.  Ah !  English  sisters,  though  we  could  bring  no  more 
against  you,  the  public  will  judge  and  decide  that  you  should  be  the 
defenders,  and  not  the  pursuers,  in  this  case ;  but  since  you  began  to 
expose  us,  we  will  expose  you  to  the  letter,  for  there  is  no  case  or  cases 
brought  out  against  us  in  '  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin,'  with  all  Harriet  Beecher 
Stowe's  capabilities  of  colouring,  that  is  equal  to  this.  We  tell  you 
emphatically  that  our  law  would  neither  sanction  or  tolerate  such  in- 
human cruelty — our  religion  forbids  it ;  and  that  any  man  or  number  of 
men  who  would  be  guilty  of  such  would  be  branded  with  infamy  and 
chased  from  our  states  and  from  our  societies  as  inhuman,  irrational, 
irreligious,  and  immoral  monsters,  unworthy  of  christian  society,  or  to 
have  a  voice  in  the  civil  or  religious  government  of  our  country.  But  by 
taking  a  retrospective  view  of  the  history  of  your  christianized  nation,  we 
find  that  inhumanity,  oppression,  cruelty,  and  extortion,  are  qualifications 
required  to  fit  a  legislator,  commander,  commissioner,  or  any  other  func- 
tionary to  whom  you  may  safely  entrust  the  law  making,  the  law  adminis- 
tration, and  the  government  of  your  people ;  but  qualifications  specially 
required  to  entitle  them  to  dignified  high  sounding  titles  and  distinction, 
as  will  be  shown  afterwards.' 

*  "  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  "  has  aroused  the  sympathy  and  compassion  of 
the  Duchesses  of  Sutherland,  Argyle,  Bedford,  and  Ladies  Blantyre  and 
Trevellyan,  and  many  thousands  of  the  women  of  England,  over  the  fate 
of  Ham's  black  children.  But  we  would  seriously  advise  the  Duchess  of 
Sutherland  and  her  host  to  pause  until  Uncle  Donald  M'Leod's  Cabin 
comes  out,  and  until  he  himself  comes  across  the  Atlantic  with  it  among 
the  thou.sands  of  those  and  their  offsprings  who  have  fled  from  their  iron 
sway  and  slavery  to  our  shores.  He,  poor  nian,  has  been  expostulating 
with  you  for  the  last  twenty  years  against  your  cruel,  unnatural,  irrational, 
unchristian,  and  inhuman  treatment  of  the  brave,  athletic.  Highland 
u'hitt  sons  of  Japhet,  but  no  English  or  Scottish  Duchesses  and  I^idies 
toot  any  notice  of  him,  nor  convened  a  meeting  to  sympathise  with  him 
or  to  remonstrate  with  Highland  despotic  slave-making  proprietors  to 
discontinue  their  unrighteous  depopulation  of  the  country,  and  their  un- 
godly draining  away  of  the  best  blood  from  the  nation.  Hence  we  aver 
that  these  ladies  would  never  convene  a  sympathising  meeting  for  the 
benighted  Africans,  should  their  own  African  Chiefs,  kings,  and  queens 
destroy  them  by  the  thousand ;  but  because  they  sell  them,  and  we  buy 
them  and  take  care  of  them,  Englisli  feminine  hearts  symjiatliise  with 
them.  This  is  a  fine  opportunity  for  Donald  M*Leod.  Let  him  now  speak 
out,  and  make  haste^  and  we  promise  him  a  quick  and  an  t^xtensive  sale 
for  his  Cabin  of  unvaniislied  facts.' 

The  Duchess  of  Sutherland  got  very  warm  on  the  subject.  After  she 
read  the  sympathising  remonstrating  address  (which  need  not  be  quoted 
here,  V)eing  long  ago  before  the  public),  she  with  great  emphasis  said, 
'  I  hope  and  V>elieve  that  our  efforts,  under  God's  blessing,  will  not  be 
without  some  happy  result ;  V)ut  whether  it  will  succeed  or  fail,  no  one 
will  deny  that  we  shall  have  made  an  attempt,  which  had  for  its  beginning 


108 

and  end,  "Glory  to  God  in  the  highest,  on  earth,  peace  and  good  will  to 
men." '  It  seems  that  effrontery  is  become  very  lofty  and  high- voiced 
under  the  protection  of  high-sounding  English  titles,  when  the  Duchess 
of  Sutherland  could  presume  to  mix  such  notorious  hypocritical  whinings 
as  these  with,  'Glory  to  God  in  the  highest,  on  earth  peace  and  good  will 
to  men,'  for  no  other  cause  or  design  than  to  whitewash  from  some  public 
odium  already  out,  or  to  screen  from  some  that  is  expected,  come  from 
what  quarter  it  may.  Surely  this  cannot  be  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland 
who  pays  a  visit  every  year  to  Dunrobin  Castle,  who  has  seen  and  heard 
so  many  supplicating  appeals  presented  to  her  husband  by  the  poor  fisher- 
men of  Golspie,  soliciting  liberty  to  take  mussels  from  the  Little  Ferry 
Sands  to  bait  their  nets — a  liberty  which  they  were  deprived  of  by  his 
factors,  though  paying  yearly  rent  for  it;  yet  returned  by  his  Grace;  with 
the  brief  deliverance,  that  he  could  do  nothing  for  them.  Can  I  believe 
that  this  is  the  same  personage  who  can  set  out  from  Dunrobin  Castle 
(her  own  Highland  seat),  and  after  travelling  from  it,  then  can  ride  in 
one  direction  over  thirty  miles,  in  another  direction  forty-four  miles,  in 
another  direction  (by  taking  the  necessary  circuitous  route)  sixty  miles, 
and  that  over  fertile  glens,  valleys,  and  straths,  bursting  with  fatness, 
which  gave  birth  to,  and  where  were  reared  for  ages,  thousands  of  the 
bravest,  the  most  moral,  virtuous,  and  religious  men  that  Europe  could 
boast  of ;  ready  to  a  man,  at  a  moment's  warning  from  their  chiefs,  to  rise 
in  defence  of  their  king,  queen,  and  country;  animated  with  patriotism 
and  love  to  their  chief  and  irresistable  in  the  battle  contest  for  victory. 
But  these  valiant  men  had  then  a  country,  a  home,  and  a  chief,  worth  the 
fighting  for.  But  I  tell  her  that  she  can  now  ride  over  these  exten- 
sive tracts  in  the  interior  of  the  country  without  seeing  the  image  o^  God 
upon  a  man  travelling  these  roads,  with  the  exception  of  a  wandering 
Highland  shepherd,  wrapped  up  in  a  gray  plaid  to  the  eyes,  with  a  colly 
dog  behind  him  as  a  drill  Serjeant  to  train  his  ewes  and  to  marshall  his 
tups.  There  may  happen  to  travel  o'er  the  dreary  tract  a  geologist,  a 
tourist,  or  a  lonely  carrier,  but  these  are  as  rare  as  a  pelican  in  the  wilder- 
ness, or  a  camel's  convoy  caravan  in  the  deserts  of  Arabia.  Add  to  this  a 
few  English  sportsmen,  with  their  stag-hounds,  pointer  dogs,  and  their 
servants,  and  put  themselves  and  their  bravery  together,  and  a  company 
of  French  soldiers  would  put  ten  thousand  of  them  to  a  disorderly  flight 
to  save  their  own  carcasses,  leaving  their  ewes  and  tups  to  feed  the  inva- 
ders !  The  question  may  arise,  where  those  people,  who  inhabited  this 
country  at  one  period  have  gone?  In  America  and  Australia  the  most 
of  them  will  be  found.  The  Sutherland  family  and  the  nation  had  no 
need  of  their  services ;  hence  they  did  not  regard  their  patriotism  or 
loyalty,  and  disregarded  their  past  services.  Sheep,  bullock,  deer,  and 
game,  became  more  valuable  than  men.  Yet  a  remnant  of  them,  or  in 
other  words  a  skeleton  of  them  is  to  be  found  along  the  sea-shore,  huddled 
together  in  motley  groups  upon  barren  moors,  among  cliffs  and  precipices, 
in  the  most  impoverished,  degraded,  subjugated,  slavish,  spiritless  condi- 
tion that  human  beings  could  exist  in.  If  this  is  really  the  lady  who  has 
*  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest,  peace  on  earth,  and  good  will  to  men,'  in 


109 

view,  and  who  is  so  religiously  denouncing  the  American  btatute  which 
*  denies  the  slave  the  sanctity  of  marriage,  with  all  its  joys,  rights,  and 
obligations — which  separates,  at  the  will  of  the  master,  the  wife  fiom  the 
husband,  the  children  from  the  parent,* — I  would  advise  her  in  GchVs 
name  to  take  a  tour  round  the  sea  skirts  of  Sutherland,  her  own  estate, 
beginning  at  Biora,  then  to  Helmsdale,  Portskerra,  Strathy,  Farr,  Tongue, 
Durness,  Eddrachillis,  and  Assynt,  and  learn  the  subjugated,  degraded, 
impoverished,  uneducated,  condition  of  the  spiritless  peoi)le  of  that  sea- 
beaten  coast,  about  two  hundred  miles  in  length,  and  let  her  with  similar 
zeal  remonstrate  with  her  husband,  that  their  condition  be  bettered ;  for 
the  cure  for  all  their  misery  and  want  is  lying  unmolested  in  the  fertile 
valleys  aV)ove,  and  all  under  his  control ;  and  to  advise  his  Grace,  her 
husband,  to  be  no  longer  guided  by  his  Ahithophel,  Mr.  Loch,  but  to  dis- 
continue his  depopulating  schemes,  which  have  separated  many  a  wife 
from  her  husband,  never  to  meet — which  caused  many  a  premature  death, 
and  that  separated  many  sons  and  daughters,  never  to  see  them  ;  and  by 
all  means  to  withdraw  that  mandate  of  Mr.  Loch,  which  forbids  marriage 
on  the  Sutherland  estate,  under  the  pains  and  penalties  of  being  banished 
from  the  county ;  for  it  has  been  already  the  cause  of  a  great  amount  of 
prostitution,  and  augmented  illegitimate  connections  and  issut^s  fifty  per 
cent,  above  what  such  were  a  few  years  ago,  before  this  unnatural,  ungodly 
law  was  put  in  force.  When  the  Duchess  will  do  this,  then,  and  not  till 
then,  will  I  believe  that  she  is  in  earnest  regarding  the  American  slaves. 
Let  her  and  the  other  ladies  who  attended  the  Stafford  House  meeting  be 
not  like  the  believers  and  followers  of  Jupiter,  who  were  supplied  with 
two  bags  each,  the  one  bag  representing  their  own  faults,  the  other  their 
neighbours'  faults — the  one  representing  their  neighbours'  faults  sus- 
pended before  them,  and  the  one  representing  their  own  faults  suspended 
behind  them,  so  that  they  could  never  see  their  own  faults,  but  their 
neighlx>urs'  were  seen  at  all  times.  Ah !  ladies,  change  your  Jupiter 
bags,  that  you  may  discern  your  inconsistency  and  connection  with  those 
to  whom  you  owe  your  position,  your  grandeur,  your  greatness,  and  all 
your  enjoyments. 

I  am  encroaching  too  much  at  this  time,  and  will  forbear,  but  will  soon 
be  at  them  again. 


Yours,  «fec.,  Donald  M'Leod. 


16  South  Richmond  Street, 
Edinburgh,  December  25,  1852. 


110 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — In  dealing  with  those  who  convened  and  attended  this  meeting, 
I  am  not  so  uncharitable  as  to  include  the  whole  of  them  under  the  same 
denomination  ;  for  I  am  willing  to  believe  that  some  of  them  are  genuine 
sympathisers,  with  generous  christian  feeling  towards  their  trodden-down, 
broken-hearted,  oppressed  fellow-creatures,  whether  black  or  white,  or 
whatever  nation  they  belong  to,  and  who  iiave  been  despoiled  of  the  pro- 
vision which  God  in  his  infinite  love  and  unlimited  goodness  made,  with- 
out distinction  or  respect  of  titles  or  personages  of  the  human  family,  and 
who  became  the  victims  of  cruel  avarice  and  boundless  ambition.  But 
being  unacquainted  with  them  personally,  I  am  not  in  a  position  to  separate 
the  genuine  from  the  spurious,  and  must  leave  them  together  until  they 
separate  themselves,  or  till  some  other  one  higher  favored  than  I  am,  do  it. 

No  one  living  would  rejoice  more  earnestly  than  I  would,  to  see  the 
American  slaves,  and  all  slaves  liberated ;  but  if  they  are  only  to  be 
liberated  equally  with  Highland  slaves,  and  subjected  to  similar  oppression, 
degradation,  and  want,  I  pray  to  the  good  Lord  to  deliver  them  from 
such  liberation.  Being  altogether  free  from  personal  spleen,  and  without 
any  other  motive  in  view  but  pure  respect  for  my  country,  I  request  the 
genuine  christian  benevolent  portion  of  our  ladies,  in  the  name  of  all  that 
is  sacred,  if  they  have  a  genuine  desire  for  the  liberation  of  the  American 
Slaves,  and  do  not  want  their  chains  rivetted  tighter,  and  their  slavery 
prolonged,  not  to  subscribe  their  names,  nor  mingle  with  the  Stafford 
House  sophistical  mockery  of  God  and  men.  For  the  Americans  are  a 
proud,  discerning  people,  and  when  they  will  see  the  iniquity  of  slavery 
they  will  abolish  it  as  effectually  as  they  did  under  the  command  of  im- 
mortal Washington  abolish  English  tyranny  and  slavery  among  them- 
selves ;  but  they  will  be  neither  dogged,  dictated  to,  nor  bullied,  to  abolish 
it,  especially  by  people  who  are  a  hundred-fold  more  guilty  than  them- 
selves ;  whose  hands  are  never  but  soiled  in  blood,  and  who,  when  they 
could  not  maintain  or  uphold  slavery  in  their  own  dominions  abroad,  de- 
manded and  obtained  for  their  compliance  to  abolish  it,  twenty  millions 
out  of  the  public  money  in  compensation,  then  turned  round  upon  the 
industrious  producing  classes,  (who  were  taxed  and  peeled,  to  refund  this 
money,  who  had  fought  for  them,  wrought  for  them,  and  paid  for  all,  and 
told  them  they  had  no  use  for  them — laid  their  land  waste,  supplanted  a 
portion  of  the  people  with  bulls,  bullocks,  cows,  sheep,  deer,  and  dogs, 
others  with  steel  men,  or  machinery ;  banished  the  rest  from  the  coast, 
with  the  exception  of  those  they  would  require  to  make  and  attend  their 
machinery,  and  as  many  as  would  allow  themselves  to  be  transmitted  to 
animals  called  soldiers,  to  keep  the  rest  of  the  people  quiet,  or  kill  them. 

But  the  first  question  our  ladies  should  ponder  well  and  discuss  seriously 
before  they  would  subscribe  this  appeal  to  the  American  ladies  in  behalf 
of  the  slaves  is  :  How  are  they  prepared  to  stand  the  campaign  of  retalia- 
tion under  such  leaders  1 — For  I  predict  they  will  be  put  to  the  blush,  and 
that  their  affectionate  address  will  soon  find  its  way  unceremoniously  to  a 
very  disrespectful  purpose.      The  Americans  are  not  to  be  dogged  or 


Ill 

<;ajoled ;  many  of  them  have  sad,  sad  recollections  of  the  mandates  which 
used  to  be  "  issued "  from  Stafford  House,  and  from  Dunrobin  Castle, 
dictated  and  corai>osed  by  James  Loch,  Esq.,  chief  commissioner,  a])proved 
of  by  his  patron,  and  executed  by  their  minions:  whose  names  I  might 
mention ;  gentlemen,  upon  the  whole,  with  one  or  two  exceptions,  wliose 
inhumanity  and  injustice  throws  the  American  slave-traders,  slave-breedei*s 
and  slave-owners,  completely  into  the  shade. — Yes,  I  say  mandates,  not 
announcing  for  their  beginning  and  end  "  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest, 
on  earth  peace,  and  good  vdW  to  men;"  no,  woes  me!  no,  but 

Far  worse  than  Egypt's  wasting  plague, 

Wrought  dismal  desolation ; 
Glens,  straths,  yea,  parishes,  at  once 

Were  swept  of  population. 

Mandates  with  every  line  of  them  announcing  schemes  for  the  destruction, 
dispersion,  and  utter  ruin  of  the  innocent  religious,  and  patriotic  brave 
aborigines;  laying  waste  the  land  jjrovided  and  appointed  by  God  for  their 
maintainence,  to  feed  brute  beasts  (for  whose  rights  to  themselves  in  com- 
mon with  their  chieftains,  they  and  their  forefathers  so  often  fought  and 
cemented  with  their  blood),  commanding  to  burn  down  the  habitations 
they  and  their  grand-sires  occupied  for  time  immemorial  per  the  hundred 
year  after  year,  leaving  the  people  houseless  and  homeless — old  and  young 
weak  and  strong,  sick  and  hale,  without  a  sanctuary ;  calumniated  in  their 
moral  and  religious  character,  by  specially  hired  emissaries,  without  an  eye 
to  pity  them  that  could  render  them  any  assistance.  ^Mandates  pregnant 
with  confusion,  despair,  dismay,  weeping,  wailings,  anguish,  and  bitter 
lamentations ;  separation  of  the  dearest  and  nearest,  never  to  meet;  break- 
ing assunder  the  most  sacred  ties  of  associations,  to  describe  which  must 
remain  incredible  to  those  who  have  not  seen  it,  beyond  description;  thank 
God  with  few  precedents  of  parallels  in  the  annuals  of  ancient  or  modern 
history — yea,  in  the  darkest  or  most  brutal  times ; — and  mandates,  indeed 
equal  in  sum  and  substance  to  the  mandates  issued  by  the  Protestant  pious 
King  William,  and  his  secretary  Master  of  Stair,  at  the  instigation  of  the 
Duke  of  Argyle  and  Breadalbane,  and  executed  by  the  infamous  Campbell 
of  Glenlyon,  Hamilton,  Hill,  Duncanson,  and  Lindsay,  purporting  the 
horrible  massacre  of  the  brave  loyal  McDonalds  of  Glencoe,  which  left  an 
infamous  stain  upon  King  William's  memoVy,  his  Government,  and  accom- 
plices, that  time  will  not  wipe  away.  And  I  emphatically  tell  her  Gi-ace 
that  the  evolution  of  years  or  of  ages  will  not  efface  the  tragical  doiKjpula- 
tion  of  Sutherland,  and  that  the  waters  of  Jordan,  and  all  the  fuller's  earth 
and  soap  in  £uroi)e,  will  not  cleanse  from  the  guilt;  and  that  the  time  is 
bygone  when  the  blood  of  bullocks,  and  rams,  sheep  and  deer,  would  atone 
or  satisfy  Divine  justice  for  guilty  deeds,  where  there  was  nothing  wanting 
but  the  wielding  operation  of  the  unsheathed  sword  (and  the  same  wea|K)n 
was  threatened  and  attempted)  to  make  the  scene  upon  a  larger  scale — a 
second  Glencoe.  Yet,  I  am  perfectly  satisfied,  if  the  blood  of  such  animaU 
would  atone,  that  aljundance  of  it  could  be  procured  in  Sutherland,  and  if 
money  and  the  influence  of  priests  established  by  law  could  procure  a 


112 

scape-goat,  that  the  second,  third  or  fourth  generation  would  have  nothing- 
to  fear. 

But  how  can  I  believe,  who  was  an  eye  witness  to  these  appalling  scenes, 
without  an  ample  proof,  that  absolution  was  diligently  sought  for  from  the 
only  source  where  remission  of  sins  can  be  obtained,  and  convei'sion  mani- 
fested by  visible  genuine  contrition,  demonstrated  by  a  restoration  of  the 
undoul>ted  rights  of  the  people  of  which  they  were  dis))oiled — I  say,  how 
can  I  believe  that  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  her  co  operators,  and  those 
who  followed  the  house  of  Sutherland,  or,  more  properly  speaking,  Mr. 
Loch's  extirpating  exam])le,  have  a  genuine  desire  to  bestow  liberties  and 
blessings  upon  the  American  slaves,  which  they  so  sternly  and  Malthusian- 
like  deny  to  their  own  people,  who  are  more  unfortunate,  and  who  have  a 
hundred  fold  stronger  claims  upon  their  sympathy?  Monstrous  sophistry ! 
The  Stafford  House  meeting  is  nothing  more  or  less  than  a  revival  of 
Sutherland's  deceptive  dodges,  with  which  I  have  been  well  acquainted  for 
the  last  forty -five  years  at  least,  and  of  which  I  will  give  you  a  few  speci- 
mens in  my  next.  At  present,  for  fear  of  encroaching  too  much  on  your 
liberality,  I  will  conclude  by  merely  telling  you  that  at  this  moment  I  am 
informed  that  female  agents  are  employed  in  Edinburgh  to  procure  sub- 
scribers to  the  Stafford  House  bubble  in  a  clandestine  way,  not  paying  so 
much  respect  to  our  Edinburgh  ladies  as  to  convene  a  meeting,  and  send 
even  one  of  their  female  pages  to  preside,  should  they  consider  it  below 
their  own  station  to  preside  or  address  our  Scottish  Ladies.  It  is  evident 
they  could  not  be  favoured  by  the  Duchess  of  Sutherland,  as  in  all  like- 
lihood by  this  time  she  is  admitted  Mistress  of  the  Robes. 

Meantime,  yours,  Ac, 

Donald  Macleod. 


Farewell,  Mrs.  H.  B.  Stowe,  at  present;  expecting  when  your  Delight 
upon  Dunrobin  Castle,  or  the  Sublimity  of  Sutherlandshire  (which  you 
visited  last  year)  comes  to  hand,  that  I  will  afford  me  an  extensive  scope 
for  animadversion,  if  I  will  be  spared  to  see  it. 

Prince  De  Ligne,  in  his  amusing  memoirs,  gives  an  entertaining 
account  of  an  imperial  visit  of  Catharine  II.  to  her  ultra- Russian  domi- 
nions in  the  Crimea.  The  Tartarian  tracts  of  desolation  were  as  dispeo- 
pled as  Kildonan  and  Strathnaver  are ;  but,  in  timely  advance  of  the  august 
cortege,  workmen  were  employed  to  construct  nice  temporary  cottages,  in 
which  picturesque  peasants  greeted  their  sovereign  lady  as  she  glided  past; 
and  when  the  monarch  Avas  fairly  out  of  sight,  the  theatrical  tenants  were 
ejected,  and  the  make-shift  little  mansions  were  tumbled  to  the  ground ! 
Prince  Potemkin  was  the  author  of  this  stupendous  deception,  and  Prince 
De  Ligne,  who  was  in  the  secret,  and  travelling  in  the  imperial  carriage, 
could  hardly  refrain  from  chuckling  as  they  passed  through  a  succession 
of  sham  villages.  I  have  been  informed  by  a  correspondent  who  is  in  the 
secrets  of  the  Potemkins  of  Sutherland,  that  similar  preparations  were  in 
contemplation,  should  Her  Majesty  consent  to  visit  Dunrobin  Castle:  but 


113 

the  dodge  was  in  reality  practised  upon  you,  Madam,  with  success.  A 
-goodly  number  of  cottages  for  the  poor  were  in  the  process  of  building  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  Golspie  and  not  far  fix>m  the  cfistle,  when  it  was  made 
known  that  you  were  to  visit  Duiirobin.  All  the  carpentei's,  nuvsons, 
slaters,  paintei-s,  and  plumbers  that  could  be  procured,  and  that  could  get 
room  to  work,  were  employed  day  and  night — suj^erintended  during  th^ 
day  by  her  Grace.  The  furniture  of  the  old  castle,  and  a  good  deal  of 
furniture  borrowed  from  the  sheep  farmers  and  factors,  to  replenish  or 
furnish  these  domiciles  of  the  poor  in  a  splendid  style,  which  with  the  old 
castle  mirrors,  carj>ets,  and  hair-bottom  chairs  and  sofas,  made  a  very  nice 
and  agreeable  appearance.  These  abodes  were  presented  to  you  as  a 
sample  of  Sutherlandshire  comforts,  and  I  admit  it  would  be  the  natural 
conclusion  of  your  mind,  if  the  poor  paupers  are  so  well  provided  for, 
and  so  comfortable,  surely  the  condition  of  the  peasantry  must  be  enviable 
above  any  condition  of  people  that  ever  came  under  m}'  notice.  But,  says 
iny  correspondent,  Mrs.  Stowe  could  not  be  the  length  of  Inverness  on  her 
way  back,  when  every  stick  of  this  splendid  replenishing  was  returned, 
and  the  poor  cottages  f uniished  after  the  order  of  the  other  poorhouses : 
he  adds,  "however,  they  are  pretty  comfortable,  if  the  necessaries  of  life 
will  correspond  with  the  building,  a  question  to  be  decided  after  this." 
The  Potemkins  of  Sutherland,  exultingly  chuckling  in  a  suppressed  tone 
— we  have  dodged  the  Yankee-ess,  have  we  not?  but,  poor  old  lady,  she 
was  much  easier  dodged  than  we  expected.  Ah!  what  glorious  praise  we 
may  now  expect,  when  her  Delight,  or  Sublimity  of  Dunrobin  Castle, 
and  of  our  noble  family,  and  of  our  humane  factors  and  servants, comes  out! 
Good  bye,  Madam,  for  the  present  time. 

This  leads  me  again  to  the  operations  of  the  new  and  disgraceful  Poor 
Law  of  Scotland,  which  is  without  precedent  on  the  Statute  book  of  any 
Christian  civilized  nation  on  earth.  Indeed,  when  pondering  over  its 
details,  crooks,  chicanery  and  deception,  I  am  tempted  to  question  whether 
<*pidemic  blindness  and  hardness  of  heart  have  not  seized  hold  of  the  ruling 
and  influential  classes  of  society  ;  and  it  seems  as  if  Providence  had  de- 
termined to  destroy  the  baneful  system  on  which  the  population  of  the 
Highlands  has  so  long  grown  poor  and  wretched,  by  destroying  the  potato 
crop;  in  order  to  arouse  the  nation  from  their  culpable  apathy,  regarding 
the  Highland  portion  of  His  vineyard,  where  He  was  more  belovetl,  more 
foared,  and  His  statutes  more  strictly  obeyed  than  any  other  portion  of 
His  creation,  by  giving  this  sharp  warning  of  their  danger,  in  tolerating  a 
system  pregnant  with  disastrous  results,  and  cutting  deep  at  the  root  of 
national  ruin  ;  you  may  easily  perceive,  if  all  Scotch  and  English  proprie- 
tors would  follow  the  example  of  the  Highland  and  Irish  Nimrotis,  what 
t  he  result  would  be.  Their  nghts  of  property  conveys  the  same  jwwer  to 
every  one  of  them,  to  do  with  their  properties  what  they  ple^ase,  as  they 
do  to  Highland  lairds.  In  this  age  of  utility  we  should  expect  to  find 
the  forest  ground  of  Scotland  rapidly  decreasing,  but  the  reverse  is  the 
case.  The  Highlands  is  an  outer  kingdom  that  moves  under  different 
laws  of  progiess  from  any  other  portion  of  Britian.  Here  the  Nimrods  ot 
England  made  a  desperate  rally.    As  they  have  seen  their  privileges  Sailing 

H 


-  114 

of!  one  after  another  by  the  blows  of  public  opiaion,  and  their  parks  and  game 
preserves  invaded  and  ruined  by  the  rise  of  towns,  factories,  railways,  and 
other  democratic  nuisances,  the  sons  of  the  mighty  aristocratic  ancestors 
have  cast  their  eyes  to  the  far  North,  and  by  universal  reign  in  that 
quarter,  resolved  to  make  up  for  all  they  have  lost.  Highland  proprietors- 
considered  that  a  deer  forest  was  both  a  necessary  and  profitable  appendage 
of  an  estate.  If  it  wanted  that  it  wanted  dignity.  Hence  (according  to 
Mr.  Robert  Somers,  editor  of  the  North  British  Mail,  Glasgow,  a  gentle- 
men to  whom  the  Highlanders  are  much  indebted)  "Deer  forests  were 
introduced  in  much  the  same  spirit  as  powdered  wigs  and  four-wheeled 
carriages  at  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  last  century."  Now,  it  is  a 
notorious  fact  that  Highland  glens  and  mountain  ranges  laid  out  in  forests, 
is  more  profitable  to  a  proprietor  than  when  let  as  a  sheep  walk,  (not 
speaking  of  agricultural  purposes  at  all).  Not  so  to  the  tacksman  or  to- 
the  country,  but  if  it  yields  more  rent  to  the  owner,  that  one  fact  is  suf- 
ficient to  decide  the  disposal  of  it.  The  huntsman  who  wants  a  deer 
forest,  limits  his  offers  by  no  other  calculation  than  the  extent  of  his  purse. 
He  expects  no  pecuniary  return  ;  his  object  is  simply  to  spend  his  money 
and  to  have  sport,  and  if  means  will  allow,  and  man  be  capacitated  capacious 
enough,  he  will  out-bid  every  opponent.  But  had  the  Legislature  taken, 
care  as  they  should,  and  have  made  the  rapidly  increased  rents  of  the  proprie- 
tors reponsible  for  the  employment  and  maintenance  of  the  people,  which 
the  system  of  sheep  walks,  deer  forests  and  game  preserves,  deprived  of 
their  usual  means  of  livelihood,  the  Highlanders  might  not  have  had  occa- 
sion to  regret  the  change  so  much;  or  if  the  Legislature  did  not  see  fit  to 
retain  and  secure  their  clansmen  in  those  rights  of  tenure  which  they  and 
their  ancestors  had  possessed  for  time  immemorial,  in  the  same  way  as  the 
English  copyholders  were  secured  in  the  reign  of  Charles  II,  it  ought  to- 
have  vigorously  enforced  the  Poor  Law  of  James  VI  and  supplemented  it 
with  a  leaf  or  two  from  the  43rd  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  the  true  tenor  of  which, 
was  to  provide  sufficient  food,  clothing  and  lodgings,  to  those  among  the 
lieges  who  are  j^roveably  destitute, and  who  cannot  obtain  support  without 
public  aid.  When  this  law  was  enforced  (in  Scotland  as  I  said  before)  in 
1845,  the  Poor  Law  Amendment  Act  was  enacted,  and  the  administration 
of  this  law  entrusted  or  committed  to  two  sets  of  men,  rather  say  two 
Boards,  viz.,  the  Board  of  Supervision  and  Parochial  Board.  The  Board 
of  Supervision  consisted  of  two  able  men,  (no  mistake,)  Sir  John  MacNeil 
and  Mr.  Smyth  were  the  responsible  parties.  The  Parochial  Boards  were 
composed  principally  of  proprietors,  factors,  and  sheep  farmers,  established- 
by-law  ministers,  doctors,  parish  schoolmasters,  rich  merchants,  (if  favou- 
rites of  the  powers  that  be)  with  a  very  thin  mixture  from  any  other  de- 
nomination, who  hold  monthly  or  quarterly  meetings,  as  they  think  proper, 
to  deliberate  and  consider  who  is  deserving  relief  and  who  is  not.  (God 
help  the  poor  for  the  tender  mercies  of  the  wicked  are  at  the  best  cruel.) 
When  a  poor  person  puts  in  a  claim,  the  officer  of  the  Board  waits  upon 
him  to  examine  his  case,  and  his  report  is  submitted  for  judgment  at  the 
next  meeting  of  the  Board;  in  most  cases  the  relief  is  refused,  or  if  granted 
is  so  small  that  it  is  inadequate  to  sustain  life;  in  most  cases  from  nine 


115 

pence  to  sixpence  per  week,  and  often  below  that  sum,  especially  if  there 
are  more  than  one  pauper  in  the  same  house.  The  only  course  open  for 
the  poor  sui)plicant  is  to  demand  a  schedule  to  make  their  cases  known  to 
the  Board  of  Supervision,  rather  say  Sir  John  MacNeil.  These  schedules 
are  a  printed  form  with  a  great  amount  of  inteiTogatories  and  large  blanks 
left  for  answers,  something  like  this — 

What  is  your  name  I 

What  is  your  age"? 

Where  were  you  born  1 

Have  you  any  children  1 

About  forty  questions  are  asked  which  must  be  all  answered  in  writing. 
The  other  side  of  this  large  sheet  is  left  blank  for  the  Inspector  of  the 
Poor  to  make  his  answers  to  the  complaint.  Yes,  (but  behold  where  the 
secret  of  iniquity  and  injustice  are  concealed  which  brand  the  concocters^ 
supporters  and  enactors  of  this  new  Poor  Law  of  Scotland  with  infamy, 
and  should  consign  the  Law  itself  to  everlasting  destruction)  when  the 
poor  pauper  gets  his  or  her  side  of  the  schedule  made  up  with  answers, 
then  it  is  handed  over  to  the  Inspector,  who,  in  general,  is  the  Factor, 
Parish  Schoolmaster  or  the  Doctor  of  the  District,  (who  of  course  must 
be  a  creature  of  the  Proprietoi-s  and  Factors)  to  make  up  his  side  of  the 
schedule,  he  is  at  liberty  to  state  the  truth  or  the  greatest  falsehood  ima- 
ginable, (one  thing  evident  he  must  please  the  Factor  or  he  will  not  occupy 
his  situation  long)  he  seajs  up  the  schedule  in  a  Parochial  Poor  Board 
envelope,  under  the  Board's  stamp,  and  hands  it  to  the  supplicant  to  pay 
it  and  ])Ost  it  to  the  Board  of  Supervision.  This  is  all  the  liberty  and 
recourse  for  obtaining  justice  the  British-enacted  Poor  Law  of  Scotland 
left  for  their  paupers,  should  the  supplicant  be  as  poor,  moral,  upright  and 
honest  as  Job.  The  Inspector  may  represent  him  or  her  immoral,  intem- 
perate, lazy  or  thievish,  having  jilenty  to  eat  and  drink;  for  the  law  enacts 
that  no  other  evidence  can  be  taken  or  produced  to  prove  the  supplicant's 
claim ;  and  should  the  Board  of  Supervision  think  proper  to  reverse  the 
decision  of  the  Parochial  Board,  what  can  they  do  ]  they  can  only  (by 
enacted  law)  recommend  the  claimant  to  get  relief;  they  dare  not  state 
what  amount  he  is  entitled  to  get;  all  they  can  do  if  the  Parochial  Board 
continues  obstinate  and  allow  nothing,  they  can  give  the  claimant  a  cer- 
tificate to  employ  a  Solicitor  to  bring  his  case  before  the  Supreme  Court 
at  Edinburgh,  but  this  is  seldom  done.  I  was  six  years  in  Edinl)urgh 
during  the  operation  of  this  law,  and  only  one  |)Oor  case  was  permitted  to 
pass  the  Bar  of  the  Board  of  Supervision  all  that  time.  That  case  was 
successful  in  tlie  Coui*t  of  Session,  but  carried  to  the  House  of  Lords,  and 
how  it  was  decided  there  I  have  not  heard.  The  fact  is  that  these  Boards, 
the  Law,  and  Highland  Proprietors  are  going  hand  in  hand  to  demoi-alize, 
pauperize  and  extirpate  the  race.  You  have  a  ])ointed  illustration  of 
this  in  the  following  brief  account  of  their  co-operation  for  the  consumma- 
tion of  their  designs.  In  the  year  1850,  Ministere  of  the  Free  Church 
and  other  dissenting  Ixxlies  in  the  Isle  of  Skye  and  other  districts  in  the 
Highlands,  forwarded  many  grievous  complaints  in  behalf  of  the  poor  to  the 
Board  of  Supervision,  showing  the  culpable  carelessness  and  malversation 


116 

and  partiality  of  the  Parochial  Board,  detailing  many  extreme  cases  of 
poverty  and  actual  death  by  famine.  The  public  press  took  up  the  case, 
and  so  urgent  were  the  public  requests,  that  Government  ordered  Sir  John 
MacNeil  and  Mr.  Smyth  to  repair  to  the  scene  of  poverty  and  fields  of 
famine  and  death,  to  make  enquiry  into  the  truth  of  these  alarming  reports. 
In  a  few  days  they  landed  among  the  valleys  of  famine,  death  and  com- 
plaints. These  Commissioners  of  justice  and  humanity  summoned  the 
Parochial  Board  and  the  reverend  reporters  of  distress,  before  them,  and 
enquired  where  extreme  cases  of  poverty  were  to  be  found;  being  told, 
they  then  enjoined  upon  the  parties  to  accompany  them  early  next  morn- 
ing, at  daylight,  to  examine  these  cases.  So  at  daylight  they  started,  and 
they  were  in  the  first  instance  directed  to  a  poor  widow's  abode.  Is  this 
one  of  the  worst  cases  you  have  to  show?  enquired  Sir  John;  being  an- 
swered in  the  affirmative,  then  says  he,  Mr.  Smyth  we  must  see  what  is 
within  ;  in  they  go,  the  widow  with  her  three  fatherless  children  were  in 
bed.  Holoj  cries  Sir  John,  have  you  any  food  in  the  house  1  Very  little 
indeed  sir,  was  the  reply.  Sir  John,  by  this  time  was  searching  and 
opening  boxes,  where  nothing  but  rags  and  emptiness  was  to  be  found;  at 
last  he  uncovered  a  pot  where  there  was  about  three  pounds  of  cold  pot- 
tage ;  Smyth  discovered  a  small  bowl  or  basin  of  milk.  Sir  John  bawls 
out  with  an  authoritative  tone,  holding  out  the  cold  pottage  in  one  hand  and 
the  basin  of  milk  in  the  other,  "Do  you  presume,  gentlemen,  to  call  this 
an  extreme  case  of  poverty,  where  so  much  meat  was  left  after  being 
satisfied  at  supper'?"  Some  of  the  party  ventured  to  mutter  out,  "that  is 
all  the  poor  woman  has."  "Hush"  says  Sir  John,  '*she  was  cunning 
enough  to  hide  the  rest."  Sir  John's  dog  made  a  bolt  at  the  pottage  and 
devoured  the  most  of  it ;  the  party  left ;  did  not  go  far  when  the  dog  got 
sick.  "That  d — n  cold  pottage  has  poisoned  my  valuable  dog,"  says 
Sir  John ;  the  servant  was  ordered  back  to  the  inn  to  physic  the  dog. 
The  whole  investigation  of  the  day  was  conducted  in  a  similar  manner ; 
only  the  dog  was  taken  care  of,  and  not  allowed  among  the  pots  of  the 
perishing  people.  Next  day  Sir  John  summoned  the  Parochial  Board  to 
appear  before  him,  to  get  instructions  for  their  future  proceedings.  The 
Board  attended,  and  Sir  John  addressed  them  nearly  as  follows  : — 

Gentlemen  of  the  Board — The  Government  who  sent  me  out,  will 
not  compel  you  to  give  out  more  relief  than  you  are  giving,  until  extreme 
cases  of  famine  are  made  out.  Extreme  cases  means  death  by  famine; 
such  cases  makes  you  culpable  and  responsible  to  the  law  of  the  land. 
Gentlemen,  (understand  me)  who  are  almost  to  a  man,  Ministers  of  the 
Gospel,  Missionaries,  Priests,  Sheepfarmers,  Factors,  Game  Keepers, 
Foresters,  Doctors,  and  Proprietors,  to  whom  the  Government  look  for 
truth ;  whose  prerogative,  by  a  special  Act  of  Parliament,  is  to  report  the 
cause  of  death  in  the  Isle  of  Skye during  these  clamorous  times  (understand 
me),  be  very  careful  about  making  out  your  reports ;  how  can  you  ])rove 
the  death  of  any  one  to  be  caused  by  want  of  food  without  having  first  a 
post  mortem  examination  of  the  body  by  more  than  one  medical  man. 
There  are  many  other  distempers  and  diseases  that  may  linger  about 
people,  that  may  cut  away  life  very  quick  when  a  person  is  in  a  weak  state 


117 

for  want  of  nourishment,  which  cannot  be  attributed  to  famine.  So,  be 
aware  of  what  you  are  about,  for  I  assure  you  if  you  continue  to  report 
extreme  cases  and  death  by  famine,  you  shall  (gentlemen)  find  yourselves 
in  a  sad  dilemma  when  you  have  to  defend  yourselves  at  the  bar  of  a  Jus- 
ticiary Court  for  culpable  homicide. 

These  instructions  and  definition  of  the  Scotch  new  Poor  Law  Bill 
enactment  were  forwarded  to  every  Parochial  Board  in  Scotland,  and  had 
the  desired  effect.  We  never  heard,  nor  never  will  hear  of  an  extreme 
case  of  death  by  famine  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  It  could  not  be 
expected  that  such  valuable  men  as  constitutes  the  Parochial  Boards  in 
Scotland,  would  criminate  themselves  for  the  sake  of  making  up  a  faithful 
report  of  the  cause  of  deaths  among  the  unfortunate  despised  Higlilanders. 
Yet  vengeance  for  all  these  evils  doings,  says  God,  is  mine ;  I  am  forbear- 
ing but  not  an  all-forbearing  God. 

"  Heuce  then,  and  evil  go  with  thee,  along 

Thy  oflFapring  the  place  of  evil— hell 

Thou  and  thy  wicked  crew;  there  mingle  broils 

Ere  this  avenging  sword  begin  thy  doom, 

Or  some  more  sudden  vengeance  wing'd  from  God 

Precipitate  thee  with  augmented  pains. — Paradise  Lost, 

May  we  not  exclaim  in  the  language  of  immortal  Burns,  "  Man's 
inhumanity  to  man  .  .  ." — and  borrow  a  short  paragraph  from  Shy  lock, 
but  to  change  the  names,  which  is  quite  applicable  to  the  Highland  Board, 
proprietors  and  their  accomplices:  '*Are  we  not  Highlander:  have  High- 
landers no  eyes;  have  Highlanders  no  hands,  organs,  dimensions,  senses, 
affections,  passions,  and  appetites,  that  should  be  fed  with  the  same  food 
with  you ;  are  Highlanders  not  hiii-t  with  the  same  weapon,  and  healed  by 
the  same  means  as  you  are,  warmed  and  cooled  by  the  same  summer  and 
winter  as  you  are?  If  you  prick  us,  do  we  not  bleed  and  feel  it?  If  you 
tickle  us,  do  we  not  laugh  1  If  you  poison  and  starve  us,  do  we  not  die  ] 
If  you  persecute  us  and  wrong  us,  shall  we  not  l>e  revenged  1  If  we  are  like 
you  in  the  rest,  we  will  resemble  you  in  that.  The  villany  you  have 
taught  us  we  will  execute,  and  it  will  go  hard  with  us,  or  we  will  better 
the  instructions  vhen  our  turn  of  revenge  will  come."  To  detail  the 
preconcerted  destructive  schemes  manifested  in  every  chapter  of  this  bill, 
(which,  indtred,  we  may  say,  was  conceived  in  sin  and  brought  forth  in 
inicpiity  ;)  the  malversation  of  its  administration,  the  fatal  effects  t)f  its 
oi>eration8,  would  require  more  room  than  I  can  spare :  you  will  have  to 
be  content  with  the  foregoing  specimen ;  and  I  think  it  should  convince 
you  of  the  length  that  the  machinations  of  evil  doers  in  hiyh  places  may 
go,  to  rob  and  punish  their  fellow  creatures,  and  to  make  the  creduloua 
world  believe  that  all  they  do  is  for  the  good  of  their  victinis.  Look  at  * 
Board  of  Supervision  sitting  in  secret  at  Edinburgh,  a  distance 
of  about  400  miles  from  some  of  the  most  impoveristd  districts  in 
Scotland,  hearing  the  complaints  of  the  poor  only  upon  .schedules,  refusing 
them  a  right  of  reply  to  the  allegations  of  hostile  inspectoin,  and  giving  no 
reasons  for  its  decisions,  though  involving  questions  of  life  or  death  to 
the  poor.     The  sheriffs  of  counties  were  even  debarred  from  giving  them 


118 

justice  when  deprived  of  adequate  relief.  All  these  precautions  were 
taken  lest  the  poor  might  have  power  to  impose  upon  the  parochial  boards. 
A  grosser  misapprehension  of  the  relative  position  and  strength  of  the  two 
parties  could  not  possibly  be  acted  upon.  A  Highland  pauper  is  one  of 
the  most  helpless  of  mortals:  a  Highland  Poor  Board,  so  far  as  its  juris- 
diction extends,  is  all-powerful,  embracing  in  its  ranks  th»  whole  wealth 
and  influence  of  a  parish.  If  the  legislature  had  had  any  sincere  intention 
of  giving  the  poor  a  chance  of  justice  against  the  prejudices  of  the  boards, 
it  would  have  thought  of  strengthening  instead  of  weakening  their  posi- 
tion, but  the  blunder  or  the  crime,  whichever  it  may  be,  of  1845,  ought 
now  to  be  atoned  for.  Let  the  sheriffs  be  empowered  to  review  the 
decisions  of  the  parochial  board  in  res[)ect  to  the  amount  of  relief;  let  the 
old  right  of  appeal,  free  of  let  or  hindrance,  to  the  Court  of  Session  be 
restored ;  let  the  Board  of  Supervision  itself  be  made  amenable  in  all  its 
acts  to  that  supreme  tribunal  to  which  all  classes  and  bodies  of  Scotchmen 
are  accustomed  to  bow  in  respectful  deference ;  and,  in  short,  let  every 
possible  facility  be  given  to  the  poor  of  stating  their  complaints  in  the 
courts  of  justice  of  having  their  claims  impartiallyJjivestigated,  and  of 
obtaining  decisions  in  accordance  with  the  law,  and  not  with  the  narrow  and 
illiberal  views  of  bodies  which  have  a  palpable  interest  in  depriving  the 
poor  of  an  adequate  maintenance.  As  for  the  objection  that  the  expense 
of  maintaining  the  poor  would  soon  consume  the  entire  rental  of  the 
Highlands,  it  has  no  foundation  in  fact.  The  total  amount  expended  on 
the  poor  in  the  four  counties  of  Sutherland,  Ross,  Inverness,  and  Argyle, 
though  embracing  six  months  of  the  severe  and  universal  distress  occa- 
sioned by  the  failure  of  the  potato  crop,  was  only  £37, Gl 8  lis.  7fd., 
being  scarcely  6^  per  cent,  of  the  valued  rent.  This  sum  may  be 
considerably  increased,  without  exceeding  the  rate  of  assessment  in  many 
parts  of  the  country  in  ordinary  years.  But  even  supposing  that  the 
expenditure  on  the  poor  should  rise  to  a  height  extremely  inconvenient  to 
the  proprietors,  I  do  not  perceive  that  this  would  be  disastrous.  The 
proprietors  have  the  means  of  correcting  this  evil  in  their  own  hands. 
There  is  no  country  on  earth  where  the  duty  of  children  to  support  their 
aged  and  disabled  parents,  and  the  ties  of  kindred  generally,  are  more 
profoundly  respected  than  in  the  Highlands.  As  long  as  a  Highlandman 
has  a  bite  and  a  sup  he  shares  it  with  an  aged  father  or  mother.  It  is 
only  \vhen  reduced  to  poverty  himself  that  he  allows  any  of  his  near  kind- 
red to  claim  the  benefit  of  the  poor's  roll.  The  policy  of  the  Highland 
lairds  for  many  years  has  been  to  deprive  the  able-bodied  of  their  holdings 
of  land,  to  reduce  them  to  the  verge  of  destitution,  and  compel  them,  if 
possible  to  emigrate.  The  direct  tendency  of  these  measures  has  been 
to  increase  the  number  of  the  aged  and  infirm  dependent  upon  jmrochial 
relief.  The  proprietors  have  only  to  reverse  their  ])olicy,  to  keep  the 
able-bodied  at  home,  to  lay  open  the  soil  to  their  industry,  and  to  pro- 
mote their  industry,  their  comfort  and  independance,  in  order  to  reduce 
the  burden  of  the  aged  and  disabled  poor.  This  is  the  safety-valve  of 
a  liberal  and  effectual  Poor  Law.  While  it  would  protect  the  poor  from 
starvation  and  suffering,  it  would  constrain  the  owners  of  property,  by  the 


119 

bonds  of  self-interest,  to  consult  the  happiness  of  the  people,  to  strive  for 
their  employment,  and  to  introduce  that  new  division  and  management  of 
the  soil  which  lie  at  the  foundation  of  permanent  improvement.  The 
same  considerations  which  induced  the  proprietors  would  dispose  the  sheep- 
farmers  to  submit  to  the  new  order  of  things.  Farewell  to  the  Poor  Law 
at  present. 

Bad  and  inadequate  as  the  relief  for  the  poor  was,  there  were  still  more 
inconsistent  and  imbecile  schemes  tried,  and  propositions  were  made  to 
relieve  them :  such  as  the  Patriotic  Society  schemes,  headed  by  the  Duke 
of  Sutherland,  and  the  most  notorious  portion  of  his  codepopulators  in  the 
Highlands,  which  brougut  me  out  in  the  following  letter  to  the  Northern 
Ensign,  when  the  emigmtion  of  the  Highlanders  to  the  waste  bogs  of 
Ireland  and  Wales,  and  the  Russian  war  opened  a  field  for  me.  I  am 
sorry  that  I  cannot  refrain  from  repetitions,  as  I  had  to  contend  with  so 
many  deceivers  of  my  countrymen  and  of  the  public,  almost  single-handed, 
and  had  often  to  use  the  same  arguments  with  them,  so  you  must  excuse 
me  for  re|>etitions.  This  Patriotic  Society  employed  a  sneaking  scoundrel 
to  bring  their  scheme  of  relief  of  the  Highlanders  before  the  public,  which, 
as  may  be  seen  at  a  glance,  was  a  scheme  to  plunder  the  credulous  public. 
After  his  first  tour  in  the  Highlands,  on  his  return  he  had  the  efi'rontery 
to  advertise  a  public  meeting  in  the  Waterloo  Rooms,  Edinburgh,  to  give 
an  account  of  success  in  the  Highlands.  I  had  an  opportunity  to  confront 
him,  face  to  face,  at  this  meeting,  and  I  assure  you  it  was  not  much  in  hia 
favour  I  did  meet  him:  he  had  good  cause  to  understand  that  his  knavery 
M'as  dismantled  before  we  parted. 

7b  the  Kilitor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — How  proud  I  would  be,  and  what  pleasure  it  would  afford  me,  if 
I  could  but  give  vent  to  my  feelings  of  gratitude  towards  you,  for  your 
manly,  timely  and  practical  interposition  in  behalf  of  my  ill-used,  mis- 
represented and  long-neglected  countrymen,  at  a  time  when  all  other 
philanthropists  who  have  exerted  themselves  in  their  behalf  as  yet  seem  to 
content  themselves  with  merely  suggesting  plans  and  remedies,  which  will 
take  years  before  they  can  bring  relief ;  and,  alas,  after  thousands  of  the 
Highlanders  will  after  the  most  agonizing  sufferings,  drop  into  a  premature 
grave.  I^ok,  for  instance,  at  Mr.  Bond,  Secretary  for  the  Royal  Patriotic 
Association,  (under  the  patronage  of  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  his  commis- 
sioner, Mr.  Loch,  and  others,)  travelling  in  the  Highlands,  with  about  half 
a  cwt.  of  cottage  models  on  his  back,  going  from  one  duke's  palace  to 
another,  from  one  marquis  to  another,  from  one  factor  to  another,  from  one 
grade  of  proprietors  and  other  underlings  to  another,  including  ministers, 
schoolmasters,  sheriffs,  and  fiscals,  collecting  information  al>out  Highland 
destitution,  and  the  cause  of  it,  and  consulting  them  upon  the  best  scheme 
to  remedy  the  evil.  Yes,  consulting  men  whose  predecessors  and  them- 
selves have  been  steeping  and  racking  their  brains  for  the  last  half  century, 
contriving  how  to  destroy  and  extirpate  the  Highland  peasantry  from  the 
land  of  their  fathers,  and  reduce  them  to  their  present  deplorable  condition 


120 

— men,  I  emphatically  say,  that  instead  of  being  consulted,  should  be 
arraigned  at  the  bar  of  public  justice,  dealt  with  as  traitors,  and  their 
property  confiscated,  for  they  of  verity  destroyed  and  trod  under  foot  the 
best  portion  of  the  national  Ijuhvork.  But  this  assuming  Mr.  Bond  comes 
before  the  public  so  ostentatiously,  just  as  if  men  could  believe  his  infor- 
mation, or  be  assured  that  the  plans  he  and  the  oppressors  of  the  people 
had  devised  could  save  their  victims  from  perishing  or  bettering  their 
condition  in  future. 

During  Mr.  Bond's  perambulations  in  the  Highlands,  he  had  to  travel 
over  extensive  tracts  of  fine  lands  and  fertile  glens,  bursting  with  fatness 
and  teeming  with  everything  that  is  necessary  to  make  the  people  com- 
fortable and  independent  of  charity,  but  locked  up  from  them,  and  lying 
a  solitary  waste,  or  under  brute  beasts,  where  no  sweeter  strains  are  heard 
than  the  screeches  of  the  night  owl,  or  the  barking  of  the  collie  dogs,  and 
the  image  of  God  upon  man  dare  not  approach  the  spot.  This  Mr.  Bond  did 
see,  though  often  gliding  smoothly  over  these  tracts,  shut  up  snugly  {with 
his  models)  in  the  laird's  coach,  or  in  the  Commissioner's  dog  cart.  But 
then  comes  Mr.  Bond  upon  the  portion  of  the  Highlands  allotted  to  the 
people,  viz.,  the  creeks,  precipices,  bogs,  barren  moors  and  bye-corners, 
places  found  both  dangerous  and  unprofitable  to  rear  sheep  and  bullocks, 
in  most  cases  dangerous  for  deer  and  goats  to  approach,  and  never  designed 
by  the  God  of  Nature  for  cultivation  or  the  abode  of  human  beings. 
Here  he  found  them  in  clusters  and  motley  groups,  where  they  were 
huddled  together  after  being  expelled  from  their  fertile  valleys,  and  with- 
out leases  or  encouragement  to  improve,  should  it  be  possible  to  do  so.  If 
I  am  not  mistaken,  (jor  I  doiiH  hear  well^)  Mr  Bond  admitted  at  a  public 
meeting  in  Edinburgh,  that  he  had  seen  some  of  the  people  tearing  or 
cultivating  moss  which  was  as  tough  as  India  rubber,  and  as  unsusceptible 
of  rearing  human  food  as  gutta  percha ;  that  the  seed  they  sowed  in  the 
evening  was  wholly  eaten  up  by  birds  before  morning,  as  nothing  could  be 
torn  out  of  the  spongy  moss  to  cover  the  seed,  though  )ie  himself  ivere  to 
try  on  the  harrow.  Mr.  Bond  found  the  people  without  food,  money  or 
clothing;  they  were  dirty,  starving  looking  creatures  ;  they  were  living  in 
turf  hovels,  (houses  he  could  not  call  them  )  The  lords  of  the  soil  com- 
plained that  the  wretches  would  neither 7?a^  rent  nor  go  away;  that  all 
their  means  were  nearly  eaten  up  with  poor  rates  ;  and  that  they  were 
alarmed  out  of  measure,  as  the  case  and  cries  of  the  poor  wretches  had 
already  reached  the  ears  of  Government,  and  that  an  able-bodied  poor  law 
was  likely  to  be  the  result.  Besides,  Dr.  Begg,  of  Edinburgh,  had 
bestirred  the  Free  Church  ministers  and  other  influential  bodies  in  behalf 
of  these  miserable-looking  wretches,  and  the  public  are  becoming  very 
indignant  at  being  called  upon  year  after  year  for  subscriptions  to  keep 
them  alive,  even  though  it  is  the  desire  of  the  Highland  landlords  that 
they  were  all  dead  or  banished.  Oh  !  exclaimed  Mr.  Bond,  I  see  what 
will  remedy  the  whole  evil.  These  dirty,  unshapely,  and  uncomfortable 
turf  hovels  must  be  changed  to  cleanly  stone-l)uilt  cott-nges,  of  which  this 
is  a  model,  and  if  our  Association  can  procure  money  from  the  Govern- 
ment, or  from  the  public,  and  that  you,  gentlemen,  will  grant  sites,  we 


121 

will  undertake  the  building.  This  suggestion  met  at  once  the  approbation 
of  Highland  Dukes,  Lords  and  Commons,  cunning  enough  to  know  as  well 
as  I  do,  (however  Utopian  the  suggestion  was)  that  if  the  public,  through 
the  high-sounding  names  connected  with  this  society,  could  be  gulled  to 
join  it  and  subscribe  to  its  funds,  and  Government  to  grant  a  large  sum  of 
the  public  money,  and  the  Royal  Patriotic  Society  to  build  houses  with  it, 
I  say  they  knew  it  was  a  scheme  which  would  at  least  take  a  hundred 
years  in  its  operation,  and  then  vanish  like  a  burst  bottle  of  smoke.  But 
the  houses  would  be  found  useful  to  the  proprietors,  for  the  dwellings  of 
shepherds  and  dogs,  or,  as  some  churches  in  the  Highlands  just  now,  for 
sheltering  sheep  during  stormy  nights,  or  for  wool  stores,  and  manses  for 
the  abodes  of  gamekeepers,  fox-hunters  and  foresters.  Let  the  public  and 
Government  be  guarded  against  such  futile  sophistry  and  preconcerted 
machinations,  and  let  me  tell  them  that  it  is  not  neat  cottages  that  the 
Highlanders  now  need  to  redeem  them  from  their  miserably  pauperised 
condition,  or  to  better  their  condition  in  future,  and  elevate  their  position 
in  society.  It  is  the  land  the  Highlanders  would  require,  yes,  the  land 
now  under  beasts;  and  unless  they  get  that,  it  is  in  vain  to  suggest  or 
devise  remedies;  they  will  ultimately  perish  unless  they  become  State 
paupers.  But  if  they  get  the  land  which  God  designed  for  cultivation, 
they  will  soon  cease  to  be  objects  of  commisseration,  and  they  will  j)ay 
rents  and  become  independant  of  charity.  Then  let  them  build  such 
houses  as  will  suit  themselves,  whether  of  mud,  turf  or  stones.  Many  a 
brave  Highlander  was  reared  in  a  turf  house,  whose  intrepidity  and  valor 
gained  many  victories  and  immortal  fame  and  praise  to  the  nation  which 
has  callously,  cruelly,  and  carelessly  allowed  a  few  despotic  minions  to 
reduce  the  progeny  of  the  heroes  of  Bannockburn,  Sheritfmuir,  Kill ie- 
crankie,  Prestonpans,  Fontenoy,  Egypt,  Corunna,  Salamanca,  Vittoria, 
and  Waterloo,  to  their  present  deplorably  destitute  condition,  a  by-word 
and  an  eye-sore  to  the  nation,  which  often  had  cause  to  be  proud  of  them 
in  many  a  battlefield,  and  would  be  proud  of  them  still  more  if  they  had 
but  half  fair  play. 

Contrast  the  present  race  of  Highlands  with  those  of  forty-five,  who, 
when  only  a  few  clans  of  them  joined  together,  s/wok  this  empire  to  its 
very  centre,  and  were  within  a  very  little  of  placing  the  crown  of  England 
upon  the  /lead  of  one  who  (with  all  his  faults,)  would  not  see  nor  hear  of  a 
Highlander  dying  for  want  of  food  while  there  would  be  a  bullock,  deer, 
ram,  sheep,  or  lamb  living  in  the  land,  not  speaking  of  allowing  thousands 
of  acres  of  fertile  land  in  his  dominions  to  lie  waste  to  feed  such  animals — 
and  after  you  compare  them,  (without  any  reference  to  the  cause  in  which 
our  predecessors  were  engaged,)  ask  what  is  the  cause, and  who  were,  and 
are  to  be  blamed  for  such  fearful  deterioration  of  everything  that  was 
recommendable  or  characteristic  of  our  forefathers?  Mr.  Bond  ami  his 
patrons  will  reply,  the  Highlanders  are  exceedingly  lazy — yes,  lazy,  they 
will  not  make  bricks  without  btraw.  I  am  encroaching  too  much  on  your 
liberality  ;  perliaps  I  will  recur  to  the  subject  again.  Hoping  the  Govern- 
ment and  the  nation  will  respond  to  the  voice  of  heaven,  that  the  High- 


122 

landers  will  be  saved  from  dying  for  want  of  food,  and  this  nation  from  a 
stain  on  their  profession  of  Christianity  that  ages  will  not  wipe  off. 

I  am,  ttc, 

DONALD  M'LEOD. 
16,  8.  Kiehmond  St., 
Edinburgh,  February  4,  1851. 


The  emigration  of  the  Higlilanders  to  the  wastes  of  Ireland,  and  to  send 
them  Gielic  Bibles  and  Psalm  Books  to  supply  the  spiritual  famine  then 
discovered  among  the  dying  people,  brought  me  out  in  the  following : — 

2h  the  Editor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — Though  I  confess  my  inability  to  ascertain  the  exact  amount  of 
money  expended  to  meet  the  s])iritual  and  temporal  destitution  of  the 
Highland  population,  by  preaching  and  teaching  the  Protestant  Christian 
religion,  and  promoting  British  civilization  in  the  Highlands  and  Islands 
of  Scotland,  yet  I  am  confident  that  any  one  who  could  ascertain  the 
amount,  would  be  ready  to  conclude  that  the  Highlanders  should  be  the 
most  religious,  the  most  enlightened,  the  most  civilized,  and  the  most 
comfortable  people  under  the  canopy  of  heaven.  In  my  opinion,  the 
amount  cannot  be  less,  or  not  more,  than  three  millions  sterling.  To  pre- 
vent such  conclusions,  I  am  resolved  in  my  old  simple  style  to  prove  to 
you  and  your  readers,  that  it  had  been  well  for  the  Highlanders  if  they 
had  never  seen  a  farthing  of  the  immense  sum,  and  that  the  progress  of 
civilization  and  religion  were  left  to  Heaven  and  their  own  exertions. 
This  will  be  easier  credited,  when  we  candidly  and  impartially  compare 
the  present  state  of  religion,  comfort  and  civilization  in  the  Highlands, 
with  that  which  existed  about  fifty  years  ago,  or  before  one  farthing  of 
these  enormous  sums  was  expended  to  improve  either.  Besides,  I  am  at 
no  loss  to  prove  to  your  satisfaction,  that  the  principal  contributors  to 
those  societies  who  squandered  the  money,  were  the  chief  plunderers  of  the 
people;  hence,  that  it  was  neither  for  the  glory  of  God  nor  the  elevation 
of  the  Highlanders  that  the  money  was  contributed  and  expended.  Be- 
stowing charity  in  all  ages  has  had  the  most  efiectual  tendency  to  make 
beggars.  Only  think  of  men  in  power  depriving  their  subjects  of  their 
corn  fields  and  of  every  means  of  their  subsistence,  then  to  cloak  their  un- 
righteous doings  would  subscribe  liberally  that  the  poor  would  receive 
Gtelic  Bibles  and  Psalm  Books  in  lieu  of  their  plunder. 

I  am  now  advanced  in  years,  and  have  a  pretty  correct  recollection  of 
passing  events  and  of  the  movements  of  society  for  the  last  fifty  years. 
At  that  period,  and  down  to  the  period  at  which  the  calamities  accompa- 
nying the  clearing  system  overtook  us,  and  before  we  came  under  the 
Loch  iron  rod  of  oppression,  and  drank  of  that  hitter  cup  of  many  wither- 
ing ingredients  which  accompanied  that  ever  cursed  and  condemned  by 
6^ofZ,  system,  I  say  that  we  lived  what  might  be  tej-med  a  happy  life,  when 


123 

compared  with  the  present.  Some  years  our  corn  crops  would  fail,  but 
we  had  cattle  which  we  could  sell,  and  purchase  food  with  the  price  of 
them  ;  we  liad  sheep  and  goats  which  we  could  take  and  eat ;  we  had 
salmon  and  trout  for  the  taking  ;  we  had  abundance  of  milk,  butter  and 
cheese  ;  and  none  of  us  ev^er  died  by  famine.  To  the  stranger  every  door 
was  oj)en ;  to  the  lame,  needy,  and  poor  every  hand  was  stretched  with 
relief ;  to  the  sick  and  afflicted  every  breast  was  full  of  sympathy.  Sab- 
bath desecration,  profane  swearing,  drunkenness,  disobedience  to  parents, 
immorality  of  every  description,  in  short,  every  violation  of  the  laws  of 
God  and  rules  of  society,  was  considered  as  a  heinous  crime,  and  not 
allowed  to  pass  with  impunity.  I  may  add,  without  fear  of  refutation, 
that  there  was  not  exceeding  four  families  in  the  county  of  Sutherland 
but  who  worshipped  God  morning  and  evening  in  their  respective  families. 
Weekly,  monthly,  and  yearly  prayer  meetings  were  held  in  every  district. 
The  pulpits  of  our  respective  parish  churches  were  occupied  by  ministei*s 
worthy  of  their  vocation,  who  were  making  themselves  well  acquainted 
with  their  flocks  by  visiting  them  often,  besides  having  Mm  known  for 
their  piety  and  exemplary  virtues,  (chosen  by  the  people),  appointed  to 
examine,  instruct,  admonish,  and  reprove,  when  required.  There  was  no 
need  for  fiscal,  constables,  thief-catchers,  or  policemen  to  keep  us  quiet 
and  protect  property;  till  of  late  yeai-s  these  hateful  names  were  not  known 
in  the  Gielic  language.  Now,  this  is  a  brief  sketch  of  the  state  of  religion 
and  civilization  in  the  beginning  of  this  century.  Query,  what  is  it  now  1 
Yet,  though  the.se  are  stubborn  facts  which  challenge  refutation,  I  am 
aware,  while  I  confine  my  observations  to  Highland  character  and  High- 
landers among  these  secluded  glens,  romantic  mountains,  and  cascades, 
for  many  yeai-s  their  religion  and  moral  virtues  have  become  an  easy  prey 
to  every  vile  calumniator,  theologian  and  historian,  down  from  M'Culloch 
and  Loch  of  Sutherland,  to  the  ^ScotsDian  and  your  own  contemporary  at 
the  Bridgend  ;  so  that  I  am  unprotected  from  the  literary  scourges  of 
Highland  happiness,  civilization,  and  religion.  Hence  1  must  extend  ray 
remarks  to  a  peiiod  when  the  Sutherland  Highlanders  were  embodied,  and 
came  before  the  world  in  such  a  })Osition  that  their  character  could  neither 
be  concealed  nor  villified  with  impunity,  and  we  will  hear  what  competent 
impartial  Judges  said  of  them,  among  other  Highland  regiments.  General 
Stewart  of  Garth,  in  his  'Sketches  of  the  Highlands,'  says  :  In  the  words 
of  a  general  officer  by  whom  the  93d  Sutherlanders  were  once  reviewed, 
*•  They  exhibit  a  perfect  pattern  of  military  discipline  and  moral  rectitude. 
In  the  case  of  such  men  disgraceful  ])\inishment  would  be  as  unnecessary 
as  it  would  Ik;  pernicious."  '  Indeed,'  says  the  general  '  so  remote  was  the 
idea  of  such  a  measure  in  regard  to  them,  that  when  punishments  were  to 
be  inflicted  on  others,  and  the  troop  in  garrison  assembled  to  witness  their 
execution,  the  presence  of  the  Sutherland  Highlanders  wa.s  dispensed  with, 
the  effects  of  terror  as  a  check  to  crime  being  in  their  case  uncalled  for, 
as  examples  of  that  nature  were  not  necesssary  for  such  honourable  soldiers. 
When  the  Sutherland  Highlanders  were  Htationed  at  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  anxious  to  enjoy  the  advantage  of  religious  instruction  agreeably  to 
fhe  tenets  of  their  national  church,  and  there  being  no  religious  service  in 


124 

the  garrison  except  the  customary  one  of  reading  prayers  to  the  soldiers  on 
parade,  the  Sutherland  men/  says  the  general,  '  formed  themselves  into  a 
congregation,  appointed  elders  of  their  own  number,  engaged  and  paid  a 
stipend  (collected  among  themselves)  to  a  clergyman  of  the  Church  of 
Scotland,  and  had  divine  service  performed  agreeable  to  the  ritual  of  the 
Established  Cliurch  every  Sabbath,  and  prayer  meetings  through  the 
week.'  This  reverend  gentleman,  Mr.  Thorn,  in  a  letter  which  appeared 
in  the  Christian  Herald  of  October  1814,  writes  thus:  'When  the  93rd 
Highlanders  left  Cape  Town  last  month,  there  were  among  them  156 
members  of  the  church,  including  three  elders  and  three  deacons,  all  of 
whom,  so  far  as  men  can  know  the  heart  from  the  life,  were  pious  men. 
The  regiment  was  certainly  a  pattern  of  morality,  and  good  behaviour  to 
all  other  corps.  They  read  their  Bibles  and  observed  the  Sabbath.  They 
saved  their  money  to  do  good.  7,000  rix  dollars,  a  sum  equal  to  £1,200 
sterling,  the  non-commissioned  ofhcers  and  privates  saved  for  books,  socie- 
ties, and  for  the  spread  of  the  Gospel,  a  sum  unparallelled  in  any  other 
corps  in  the  world,  given  in  the  short  space  of  eighteen  months.  Their 
example  had  a  general  good  effect  on  both  the  colonists  and  the  heathen. 
If  ever  apostolic  days  were  revived  in  modern  times  on  earth,  I  certainly 
believe  some  of  those  to  have  been  granted  to  us  in  Africa.'  Another 
letter  of  a  similar  kind,  addressed  to  the  Committee  of  the  Edinburgh 
Gaelic  School  Society  (fourth  annual  report),  says  :  'The  93d  Highlanders 
arrived  in  England,  when  they  immediately  received  orders  to  proceed  to 
North  America;  but,  before  they  re-embarked,  the  sum  collected  for  your 
society  was  made  up  and  remitted  to  your  treasurer,  amounting  to  seventy- 
eight  pounds  sterling.'  '  In  addition  to  this,'  says  the  noble  minded 
immortal  General,  '  such  of  them  as  had  parents  and  friends  in  Sutherland 
did  not  forget  their  destitute  condition,  occasioned  by  the  operation  of  the 
{fire  and  faggot)  "  wz2>-improved  state  of  the  country."  During  the  short 
period  the  regiment  was  quartered  at  Plymouth,  upwards  of  ;£oOO  was 
lodged  in  one  banking-house,  to  be  remitted  to  Sutherland,  exclusive  of 
many  sums  sent  through  the  Post-office  and  by  officers ;  some  of  the  sums 
exceeding  ;^20  from  an  individual  soldier.  Men  like  these  do  credit  to 
the  peasantry  of  a  country.  '  It  must  appear  strange,  and  somewhat  incon- 
sistent.' continues  the  general,  'when,  the  same  men  who  are  so  loud  in 
their  profession  of  an  eager  desire  to  promote  and  preserve  the  religious 
and  moral  viitues  of  the  people,  should  so  frequently  tak(5  the  lead  in  re- 
moving them  from  where  they  inbibed  principles  which  have  attracted 
the  notice  of  Europe,  and  of  measures  which  lead  to  a  deterioration,  placing 
families  on  patches  of  potato  ground  as  in  Ireland,  a  syst(jm  pregnant  with 
degradation,  poverty,  and  disaffection.'  It  is  only  when  parents  and 
heads  of  families  in  the  Highlands  are  moral,  happy,  and  contented,  that 
they  can  instil  sound  principles  into  their  children,  who  in  their  inter- 
course with  the  world  may  become  what  the  men  of  Sutherland  have 
already  been,  "an  honourable  example  worthy  the  imitation  of  all." 

I  cannot  help  being  grieved  at  my  unavoidable  abbreviation  of  these 
heart  stirring  and  heart-warming  extracts,  which  should  ornament  every 
mantle-piece  and  library  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland;  but  I  could  refer 


125 

to  other  authors  of  similar  weight;  among  the  last,  (though  not  the  least), 
Mr.  Hugh  Miller  of  the  Witness,  in  his  *  Sutherland  as  it  was,  and  is:  or. 
How  a  country  can  be  ruined ;'  a  work  which  should  silence  and  put  to 
shame  every  vile,  malignant,  calumniator  of  Highland  religion  and  moral 
virtue  in  bygone  years,  who  in  their  sophistical  profession  of  a  desire  to 
promote  the  tempoi'al  and  spiritual  welfare  of  the  people,  had  their  own 
sordid  cupidity  and  aggrandisement  in  view  in  all  their  unworthy  lucubra- 
tions, (as  I  will  endeavour  to  show  at  a  future  period.)  Come  then,  ye 
perfidious  declaimers  and  denouncers ;  you  literary  scourges  of  Highland 
happiness,  under  whatever  garb,  whether  political  economist  or  theology 
moiifjers,  answer  for  yourselves — What  good  have  you  achieved,  after 
expending  such  enormous  sums  of  money  ?  Is  it  possible  that  the  world 
will  believe  you,  or  put  confidence  in  you  any  longer]  Before  I  am  done 
with  you,  come,  you  professing  preachers  of  the  everlasting  gospel  of  peace 
and  of  good  will  to  men,  stand  alongside  and  on  the  same  platform  with 
the  Highland  Destitution  Relief  Board,  exhibited  before  God  and  the 
world,  and  accused  of  misapplying  and  squandering  away  an  enormous 
amount  of  money,  and  of  having  in  your  league,  and  combination  with 
}>olitical  economists — treacherous  professing  civilizers  and  improvers  of  the 
Highlands  and  Highland  population, — produced  the  most  truly  deplorable 
results  that  ever  were  recorded  in  the  history  of  any  nation,  the  utter 
ruin  and  destruction  of  as  brave,  moral,  religious,  loyal,  and  patriotic 
a  race  of  men  as  ever  existed.  Spiritual  and  temporal  destitution  in  the 
Highlands  has  been  a  profitable  field  for  you  these  many  years  back. 
Many  a  scheme  have  you  tried  (hitherto  successful)  to  extract  money  from 
the  pockets  of  the  credulous  benevolent  public,  who  unfortunately  believed 
your  fabulous  accusation  and  misrepresentation  of  the  Highlanders,  and 
who  confided  in  your  honesty  ;  and  although  you,  yourselves,  may  see  ;  the 
public,  yea,  and  he  that  runneth  may  see,  that  the  Lord  (not  without  a 
cause)  has  discountenanced  you,  still  you  continue  your  appeals  to  the 
public,  that  your  traffic  may  continue  likewise ;  appeals  from  respectable 
quarters  have  lately  been  made  for  Gaelic  teachers,  Gaelic  bibles,  and 
psalm  lx)oks,  and  tracts,  for  the  iX)or  Highlanders,  who  are  dying  for  want 
of  food  ;  dejKjnd  upon  it  that  there  is  a  squad  of  students  out  of  employ- 
ment, and  a  great  deal  of  these  books  unsold  somewhere,  that  must  be 
turned  to  money.  We  have  now  an  association  forming  in  Edinburgh, 
got  up  by  men  fi*ora  whom  better  things  should  be  expected,  who  have 
for  their  object  to  expoi-t  these  dying,  penniless  Highlanders  to  Ireland, 
to  mix  location  with  the  poor  Insh — who  have  gone  through  many  a  fiery 
ordeal  for  the  last  sixty  yeai-s — that  the  wastes  of  Ireland  may  be  reclaimed 
from  nature,  and  cultivated  by  Highlanders  ;  just  as  if  there  was  no  waste 
land  in  the  Highlands  and  Islands  of  Scotland  to  reclaim  and  cultivate;  or, 
as  if  th(Te  was  something  devilish  or  unnatural  in  the  Highland  soil,  and 
detrimental  to  the  progress  of  its  inhabitants.  Perha])s  they  have  in  view 
to  liave  the  Highlanders  trained  in  the  school  and  discipline  of  that  great 
and  useful  lady  (to  the  fiscal  department)  Molly  M'Guire,  to  partake  of 
her  uncouth  freaks.  Very  likely  the  next  sjHjculative  exi)eriment  will  be 
the  exportation  of  Highlanders  to  Wales,  to  learn  the  humoiirsome  freaks 


120 

of  Rebelali,  since  all  the  ingenuity  of  evildoers,  evil  teachers,  the  effects- 
of  famine,  oppression,  and  false  accusation,  have  been  baffled  to  make  them 
murder^  roh^  steals  or  destroy  property,  while  on  the  (stubborn  and  unpro- 
ductive of  crime)  Highland  soil. 

You,  benevolent  public,  ;;aws<?,  for  a  little  while,  till  I  have  time  to  ex- 
plain myself  better,  and  draw  the  curtain  of  the  stage  of  devices,  chicanery^ 
and  deception,  and  be  no  longer  the  abettors  and  accomplices  of  Highland 
depopulators — the  legitimate  parents  of  Highland  calamities. 

Britain  will  some  day  bewail  the  loss  of  her  Highland  sons.  Highland 
bravery,  loyalty,  patriotism  and  Highland  virtue.  May  God  hasten  the 
day,  that  I  may  live  to  see  it. 

Meantime,  yours,  tfec, 

DONALD   M'LEOD., 

[Note,— Molly  McGuire  was  Chief  Judge  of  what  was  termed  the  Lynch  Law  of 
Ireland.  When  a  evietor  or  a  man  used  intrigues  to  supplant  any  of  Molly's  .'•  d- 
ciety,  he  was  at  once  summoned  to  her  bar,  to  be  judged  by  Molly,  yet  the  ir^n 
did  not  know  where  to  attend,  being  a  secret  court ;  yet  the  case  would  go  on  and 
Molly  would  employ  a  counsel  to  defend  the  accused,  where  I  am  told  every  facility 
was  afforded  him  and  rewarded  provided  he  could  exonerate  the  accused;  otherwise 
there  was  nothing  for  him.  If  the  accused  was  found  innocent  he  got  notice  to 
that  effect,  that  he  had  nothing  to  fear ;  but  if  found  guilty  he  was  next  day 
warned  to  leave  the  country  or  prepare  for  eternity,  that  upon  a  certain  day  and 
hour  he  was  to  be  dispatched  by  order  of  Molly  M'Guire,  which  orders  were  in 
general  punctually  executed.  Again,  when  farmers  raised  the  price  of  butcher's 
meat  so  high  that  her  disciples  could  not  buy  it,  Molly  (in  order  to  keep  the  meat 
market  down  at  a  reasonable  price)  would  order  so  many  of  her  subjects  to  proceed 
to  the  town  or  district  where  such  high  prices  were  wrung  from  the  poor  people 
to  (what  they  termed)  houghing  all  the  fat  cattle  and  sheep  in  the  district,  so  as  to 
compel  them  to  sell  cheap.  Yet  we  have  writers  of  no  small  reputation  maintain- 
ing that  "  however  diabolical  Molly  M'Guire's  laws,  rules,  and  operations  were, 
still  there  was  more  humanity  and  justice  discerned  than  in  the  new  Poor  Law  of 
Scotland. "  Rebekah  was  the  leader  of  the  Toll  breakers  in  Wales,  South  of  P]ngland, 
some  few  years  ago,  but  solely  on  account  of  being  English,  Rebekah  and  her 
children  claimed  redress  for  their  grievances,  and  the  offensive  Tolls  were  removed.]; 


To  the  Editor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — If  in  my  last  I  have  suceeded  in  making  out  a  claim  upon  the 
sympathy  and  interposition  of  the  nation,  in  behalf  of  my  unfortunat. 
countrymen,  where  is  the  Christian  heart  so  void  of  sympathy  as  not  to 
throh  heavily,  or  the  eye  so  void  of  pity  as  not  to  shed  a  bitter  tear  over 
the  lamentable  fate  of  this  peaceable,  inoffensive,  and  once  brave  people? 
Or  where  is  the  Christian  heart  that  is  pot  full  of  indignation,  or  the  eye 
that  will  not  look  with  abhorrence,  upon  the  criminal  men  who  are  the 
legitimate  parents  and  sole  cause  of  all  the  sufferings  and  jiremature  agon- 
izing death  to  which  the  Highland  population  are  doomed  %  Napoleon 
Bonaparte,  at  one  period  of  his  horrible  career  in  Turkey,  ordered  four 
hundred  Musselmen  whom  he  had  taken  prisoners,  to  be  shot,  because  he 


127 

could  not  provide  thein  with  food,  and  to  let  them  go  free  he  would  not^ 
and  he  saw  that  they  would  die  by  famine — hence  mercy  dictated  that  they 
would  be  formed  into  a  solid  square,  and  2,000  French  muskets  loaded 
with  ball  cartridges  levelled  at  them,  which  was  done,  and  this  disarmed 
mournful  s<]uare  mass  of  human  beings  were  quickly  put  out  of  pain.  All 
the  Christian  nations  of  Europe  were  horrified,  and  every  breast  was  full 
of  indignation  at  the  perpetrator  of  this  horrible  tragedy,  and  France  wept 
bitterly  for  tlie  manner  in  which  the  tender  mercies  of  their  wicked  Em- 
peror were  exhibited.  Ah !  but  guilty  Christian,  your  Protestant  law-mak- 
in«^  Britain,  tremble  when  you  look  towards  the  great  day  of  retribution. 
Urier  the  protection  of  your  law.  Colonel  Gordon  has  consigned  1.500 
m  .,  women,  and  innocent  children,  to  a  death  a  hundred  fold  more  agon- 
ising and  horrifying.  With  the  sanction  of  your  law  he  (Colonel  Gordon} 
and  his  predecessors,  in  imitation  of  His  Grace  the  Duke  of  Sutherland 
and  his  predecessors,  removed  the  people  from  the  land  created  by  God, 
sujiable  for  cultivation,  and  for  the  use  of  man,  and  put  it  under  brute 
animals;  and  threw  the  people  upon  bye-corners,  precipices,  and  barren 
moors,  there  exacting  exorbitant  rack-rents,  until  the  people  were  made 
l)enniless,  so  that  they  could  neither  leave  the  place  nor  better  their  con- 
dition in  it.  The  potato-blight  blasted  their  last  hopes  of  retaining  life 
Ujjon  the  unproductive  patches — hence  they  became  clamourous  for  food. 
Their  distress  was  made  known  through  the  public  press;  public  meetings 
were  held,  and  it  was  managed  by  some  known  knaves  to  saddle  the  God 
of  providence  with  the  whole  misery — a  job  in  which  many  of  God's  pro- 
fessing and  well-paid  servants  took  a  very  active  part.  The  generous  public 
responded ;  iuimense  sums  of  m6ney  were  placed  in  the  hands  of  Govern- 
ment agents  and  other  individuals,  to  save  the  people  from  death  by  famine 
on  the  British  soil.  Colonel  Gordon  and  his  worthy  allies  were  silent  con- 
tributors, though  terrified.  The  gallant  gentleman  solicited  Government 
through  the  Home  Secretary  to  purchase  the  Island  of  Barra  for  a  penal 
colony,  but  it  would  not  suit;  yet  our  humane  Government  sympathised 
with  the  Colonel  and  his  coadjutors,  and  consulted  tlie  honourable  and  brave 
M'Neil,  the  chief  pauper  ganger  of  Scotland,  upon  the  most  etlective  and 
speediest  scheme  to  relieve  the  (jallant  Colonel  and  colleagues  from  this 
clamour  and  eyesore,  as  well  as  to  save  their  pockets  from  able-bodied  poor 
rates.  The  result  was,  that  a  lil)eral  grant  from  the  public  money,  which 
had  l)een  granted  a  twelvemonth  before  for  the  purpose  of  improving  and 
ultivating  the  Highlands,  was  made  to  Highland  proprietoi-s  to  assist 
'.em  to  drain  the  nation  of  its  l>est  bloo<l,  and  t<.>  banish  the  Highlanders 
across  the  Atlantic,  there  to  die  by  famine  among  strangers  in  the  frozen 
iregions  of  Canada,  far  from  British  sympathy,  and  far  from  the  resting- 
place  of  their  brave  ancestors;  though  the  idea  of  mingling  with  kindred 
dust  to  the  Highlanders  is  a  consolation  at  death,  more  than  any  other  race 
of  peoj)le  I  have  known  or  i*ead  of  under  heaven.  Oh  !  Christian  people, 
Christian  people.  Christian  fathers  and  mothers,  who  are  living  at  case, 
and  never  exptnicnced  such  treatment  and  concomitant  suHerings;  you 
Christian  rulers,  Christian  electors,  and  representatives,  permit  not  Christ- 
ianity to  blush  and  hide  her  face  with  shame  before  heathenism  and  idol- 


128 

atry  any  longer.     I  speak  with  reverence  when  T  say,  permit  not  Mahomet 
Ali  to  deride  our  Saviour  with  the  conduct  of  his  followers — allow  not 
demons  to  exclaim  in  the  face  of  Heaven,  What  can  you  expect  of  us  when 
Christians,  thy  chosen  people,  are  guilty  of  such  deeds  of  inhumanity  to 
their  own  species  1     I  appeal  to  your  feelings,  to  your  respect  for  Christ- 
ianity and  the  cause  of  Christ  in  the  world,  that  Christianity  may  be  re- 
deemed from  the  derision  of  infidels,  Mahommedans,  idolaters,  and  demons 
— that  our  beloved  Queen  and  constitutional  laws  may  not  be  any  longer  a 
laughing  stock  and  derision  to  the  despots  of  the  Continent,  who  can  justly 
say:  You  interefere  with  us  in  our  dealings  with  our  people;  but  look  at 
your  cruel  conduct  toward  your  own.     Ye  hypocrites,  first  cast  out  the 
beam  out  of  your  own  eye,  before  you  meddle  with  the  mote  in  ours.    Come, 
then,  for  the  sake  of  neglected  humanity  Siud prosti-ated  Christianity/,  and 
look  at  this  helpless  unfortunate  people — place  yourselves  for  a  moment  in 
their  hopeless  position  at  their  embarkation,  decoyed,  in  the  name  of  the 
British  Government,  by  false  promises  of  assistance,  to  procure  homes  and 
comforts  in  Canada,  which  were  denied  to  them  at  home — decoyed,  I  say, 
to  an  unwilling  and  partial  consent,  and  those  who  resisted  or  recoiled 
from  this  conditional  consent,  and  who  fled  to  the  caves  and  mountains  to 
hide  themselves  from  the  brigands,  look  at  them,  chased  and  caught  by 
policemen,  constables,  and  other  underlings  of  Colonel  Gordon,  handcuflTed, 
it  is  said,  and  huddled  together  with  the  rest  on  an  emigrant  vessel.    Hear 
the  sobbing,  sighing,  and  throbbings  of  their  guileless,  warm  Highland 
hearts,  taking  their  last  look,  and  bidding  a  final  adieu  to  their  romantic 
mountains  and  valleys,  the  fertile  straths,  dales,  and  glens,  which  their 
forefathers  for  time  immemorial  inhabited,  and  where  they  are  now  lying 
in  undisturbed  and  everlasting  repose,  in  spots  endeared  and  sacred  to  the 
memory  of  their  unfortunate  offspring,  who  must  now  bid  a  mournful  fare- 
well to  their  early  associations,  which  were  as  dear  and  as  sacred  to  them 
as  their  very  existence,  and  which  had  hitherto  made  them  patient  in  suf- 
ferings.   But  follow  them  on  their  six  weeks'  dreary  passage,  rolling  upon 
the  mountainous  billows  of  the  Atlantic,  ill  fed,  ill  clad,  among  sickness, 
disease  and  excrements.    Then  come  ashore  with  them,  where  death  is  in 
store  for  them — hear  the  captain  giving  orders  to  discharge  the  cargo  of 
live-stock — see  the  confusion,  hear  the  noise,  the  bitter  weeping  and  bus- 
tle— hear  mothers  and  children  asking  fathers  and  husbands,  where  are  we 
going"?  hear  the  reply,  cha  'n  ^eilfhios  againn — we  know  not — see  them  in 
grouj)s  in  search  of  the  Government  agent,  who  they  were  told  was  to  give 
them  money — look  at  their  despairing  countenances  when  they  came  to 
learn  that  no  agent  in  Canada  was  authorised  to  give  them  a  penny — hear 
them  praying  the  Captain  to  bring  them  back  that  they  might  die  among 
their  native  hills,  that  their  ashes  might  mingle  with  those  of  their  fore- 
fathers— hear  this  request  refused,  and  the  poor  helpless  wanderers  bidding 
adieu  to  the  captain  and  crew,  who  showed  them  all  the  kindness  they 
could,  and  to  the  vessel  to  which  they  formed  something  like  an  attach- 
ment during  the  voyage — look  at  them  scantly  clothed,  destitute  of  food, 
without  implements  of  husbandry,  consigned  to  their  fate,  carrying  their 
children  on  their  backs,  begging  as  they  crawl  along  in  a  strange  land,  un- 


129 

qualified  to  beg  or  buy  their  food  for  want  of  English,  until  the  slow-mov- 
ing and  mournful  company  reach  Toronto  and  Hamilton  in  Upper  Canada, 
where,  according  to  all  accounts,  they  spread  themselves  over  their  respec- 
tive bury  ing-pl  aces,  where  famine  &nd  frost-bitten  de&th  was  waiting  them. 
Mothers  in  Christian  Britain,  look,  I  say,  at  these  Highland  mothers  who 
conceived  and  gave  birth,  and  who  are  equally  as  fond  of  their  ofispring 
as  you  can  be  ;  look  at  them  by  this  time,  wrapping  their  frozen  remains 
in  rags  and  committing  them  to  a  frozen  hole — fathers,  mothers,  sons,  and 
daughters,  participants  of  similar  sufferings  and  death,  and  the  living  who 
are  seeking  for  death  (yet  death  fleeing  from  them  for  a  time)  performing 
a  similar  painful  duty.  This  is  a  painful  picture  ;  the  English  language 
fails  to  supply  me  with  words  to  describe  it  :  I  wish  the  spectrum  would 
depart  from  me  to  those  who  could  describe  it  and  tell  the  result.  But 
how  can  Colonel  Gordon,  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  James  Loch,  Lord 
Macdonald,  and  others  of  the  unhallowed  league  and  abettors,  after  look- 
ing at  this  sight,  remain  in  Christian  communion,  ruling  elders  in  Christ- 
ian churches,  and  partake  of  the  emblems  of  Christ's  broken  body  and 
shed  blood  1  But  the  great  question  is,  can  we  as  a  nation  be  guiltless,  and 
allow  so  many  of  our  fellow  creatures  to  be  treated  in  such  a  manner,  and 
not  exert  ourselves  to  put  a  stop  to  it  and  punish  the  perpetrators?  Is  am- 
bition which  attempted  to  dethrone  God,  become  omnijjotent,  or  so  power- 
ful when  incarnated  in  the  shape  of  Highland  dukes,  lords,  esquires,  col- 
onels, and  knights,  that  we  must  needs  submit  to  its  revolting  deeds?  Are 
parchment  rights  of  property  so  sacred  that  thousands  of  human  beings 
must  be  sacrificed  year  after  year,  till  there  is  no  end  of  them,  to  preserve 
them  inviolated?  Are  sheep  walks,  deer  forests,  hunting  parks,  and  game 
preserves,  so  beneficial  to  the  nation  that  the  Highlands  must  be  converted 
into  a  hunting  desert,  and  the  aborigines  banished  and  murdered  ?  1 
know  that  thousands  will  answer  in  the  negative  ;  yet  they  will  fold  their 
arms  in  criminal  apathy  until  the  extirpation  and  destruction  of  my  race 
will  be  completed.  Fearful  is  the  catalogue  of  those  who  have  already 
become  the  victims  of  the  cursed  clearing  system  in  the  Highlands,  by 
famine,  fire,  drowning,  banishment,  vice,  and  crime.  What  is  to  be  done, 
and  how  to  proceed,  will  be  the  subject  of  my  next — expecting  the  co- 
operation of  the  advocates  and  sympathisers  of  sufTering  humanity. 
I  am,  meantime,  yours,  &c., 

DONALD  MCLEOD. 
16,  South  Richmond  St.,  Edinburgh. 


To  the  Editor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — There  is  assuredly  no  lawful  day  to  which  I  look  forward  with 
such  intense  interest  as  Friday,  bein«  the  day  (if  favourable)  on  wliich  the 
Ensign  cros-ses  the  tempestuous  Pentland  Firth  It  is  generally  the  bearer 
of  something  new,  and  very  often  brings  tidings  of  importance  to  me  from 
the  once  happy  home  of  my  youth,  a  home  which  nothing  but  death  can 
ever  sever  from  my  remembrance. 
I 


130 

The  Ensign  is  not  only  the  bearer  of  something  new,  something  cheer- 
ing, something  teeming  with  acts  of  Christian  charity  and  benevolence, 
but,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  it  also  brings  intelligence  mournful,  deplorable,  and 
inhuman.  Who  has  perused  its  columns  for  the  last  year,  and  does  not 
feel  within  his  breast  the  deepest  sympathy  for  the  sick  and  the  dying,  the 
helpless  and  the  destitute,  the  hoary  locks  and  the  furrowed  cheek,  yea, 
the  aged,  the  friendless,  and  the  infirm,  with  one  foot  in  the  grave  and 
another  upon  its  brink,  driven  by  cold-hearted  lordlings  to  seek  for 
shelter  and  beg  a  morsel  of  bread  in  foreign  wilds  ?  Certainly  few,  indeed! 
How  awful  is  the  idea  to  the  cherisher  of  his  native  plains,  which  are  still 
as  dear  to  him  as  life,  to  be  driven  far,  far  away  from  the  land  of  his  fore- 
fathers, the  sepulchres,  of  those  whose  dust,  although  now  covered  with  the 
green  sward,  and  it  may  be  trodden  upon  by  some  coveteous  man's  favour- 
ite quadrupeds,  is  deposited  there  as  a  raomento  of  a  glorious  resurrection 
to  the  departed  in  Christ,  and  a  coming  judgment  to  the  oppressors  of  the 
widow  and  the  fatherless!  The  pages  of  the  Ensign  inform  us  in  rending 
language,  piercing  to  the  inmost  core,  that — 

*  Man's  inhumanity  to  man, 
Makes  countless  thousands  mourn,* 

Is  it  possible  that  man,  a  being  of  a  few  years  existence,  and  perhaps 
only  days,  every  moment  a  dependant  upon  God  for  the  air  he  breathes, 
the  food  he  eats,  and  the  raiment  he  puts  on,  can,  with  the  impartial  sword 
of  death  unsheathed  to  strike  him  down  as  a  tyrant  and  a  cumberer  of  the 
ground,  spend  so  many  sleepless  nights  devising  schemes,  the  result  of 
which  sinks  him  as  low  as  were  he  the  companion  of  the  lion,  the  tiger, 
or  the  hyena?  Can  he,  as  a  being  possessed  of  an  immortal  soul,  primitively 
formed  in  the  moral  image  of  God,  and  destined  for  eternity,  look  around 
him  upon  the  cottages  of  his  less  temporally  favoured  and  humbler  fellow 
mortals,  from  whence,  at  morning,  night,  and  noon-day,  have  arisen  to 
the  throne  of  God  on  high  the  sacred  song  and  pious  prayer,  and  yet  de- 
liberately scatter  before  the  four  winds  of  heaven  from  off  his  bit  of  idol- 
ised soil  those  beings  whose  actions  in  the  sight  of  heaven  are  more 
acceptable  than  hisi  Yes ;  such  hearts  as  are  deceitful  above  all  things 
and  desperately  wicked  can  do  these  and  more : 

'  Unmindful,  though  a  weeping  wife 
And  helpless  offspring  mourn  !' 

Strange  as  it  is,  that  such  a  being  as  man,  exposed  to  numberless  cal- 
amities, coming  naked  into  the  world,  and  who  at  last  must  return  to  the 
ground  from  whence  he  was  taken,  to  become  the  companion  and  food  of 
worms,  can,  during  a  few  and  uncertain  years,  be  guilty  of  glaring  haras- 
sings  and  inhuman  treatment  to  his  fellow  men,  as  if  his  present  little  brief 
authority,  his  few  perishing  pence,  and  the  gay  clothing  which  so  pom- 
pously adorns  his  polluted  clay,  were  to  be  his  companions  through  eter- 
nity. Strange,  indeed,  thus  to  act,  with  a  coming  judgment  and  an 
endless  eternity  before  him,  either  to  spend  a  glorious  immortality  in  the 
beatific  mansions  of  the  eternal,  or  wretchedness  and  woe  with  the  devil 
and  his  angels.     Are  pride  and  oppression  the  highways  to  the  latter? 


131 

So  says  the  Word  of  God.  Then,  ostentatious  and  puny  tyrants,  grieve 
no  more  the  Holy  Spirit  of  your  Judge.  Death,  that  matchless  marksman, 
is  hovering  over  you,  from  whose  icy  grasp,  the  potency  of  your  wealth, 
with  all  its  self -destroying  allurements,  will  not  be  able  to  rescue  you.  The 
bar  of  God  is  before  you,  and  there  assuredly  you  must  stand  and  receive 
a  sentence  conformal)le  to  your  actions  done  here  below  ;  and  then  eter- 
nity will  receive  you  into  its  everlasting  embrace,  and  as  the  tree  falleth  so 
shall  it  lie.  Why,  then  my  fellow  worm,  with  theses  awful  realities  before 
you,  do  you  oppress  and  grind  the  face  of  the  poor?  Remember  Lazarus 
and  the  rich  man.  With  yon,  as  well  as  the  beggar  who  begs  at  your  door 
a  morsel  of  bread,  from  which  you  too  often  spurn  him  as  abject,  mean, 
and  vile,  a  few  square  yards  of  your  depopulated  domains  will  only  be  your 
share  in  the  'narrow  house',  over  which,  in  a  few  years  hence,  sheep  and 
cattle  may  graze. 

I  am,  Sir,  yours  .tc,  D.  M'LEOD. 

The  following  is  from  the  pen  of  a  man  of  affluence,  and  an  independent, 
patriotic,  Scotch  Lowlander,  who  has  travelled  in  the  Highlands  for  to  ob- 
tain personal  knowledge  of  what  was  going  on  there,  and  whose  sympathy 
for  the  oppressed  Highlanders  often  graced  the  pages  of  the  Scotch  public 
press  : — 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Scottish  Herald. 

Sir, — An  unaccountable  apathy  has  come  over  the  press  this  some  time 
j»a.st  regardinjT  Highland  affairs.  Twelve  months  ago  the  nation  was  made 
to  ring  with  indignant  exclamations  at  the  oppressions  and  privations  un- 
der which  our  Celtic  countrymen  have  been  long  groaning  ;  but  uotv  there 
is  as  little  said  on  the  subject,  as  if  the  i:)eople  on  whose  behalf  so  much 
liad  been  written  were  living  in  perfect  tranquility,  and  had  nothing  to 
'•omplain  of.  This,  however,  is  not  the  case.  The  grievances  of  thti  Gael 
still  remain  unredressed.  They  still  continue  to  live,  steeped  in  the  same 
poverty  and  degradation  which  have  been  their  lot  since  they  were  burned 
out  of  their  ancient  habitations  in  the  valleys,  and  planted  like  sea  fowls  on 
the  outskirts  of  their  country.  While  a  Highlander  is  left  to  shiver  out  a 
miserable  existence  on  that  dismal,  sea-begirt  locality  which  he  has  l)een 
fompelled  to  exchange  for  his  once  comfortable  inland  farm — while  one 
^'l(!n  remains  unoceupied,  capable  of  affording  adequate  shelter  and  nourish- 
nient  to  him,  the  public  ought  not  to  be  satisfied,  and  the  press  betrays  its 
trust  by  remaining  silent. 

I  have  been  led  into  these  remarks  in  consequence  of  accidentally  per- 
using an  admirable  work  on  the  st.ite  of  the  Highlands,  published  in  1785 
l)y  Mr.  John  Knox,  a  man  celebrated  for  his  patriotism  and  enlightened 
philanthropy.  A>)Out  the  period  Mr.  Knox  wrote  his  book,  the  depopulat- 
ing projects  of  the  Highland  lairds  were  in  full  opemtion,  and  this  warm- 
hearted individual  resolved,  if  possible,  to  avert  the  ruin  he  saw  impending 
over  his  country.  He  accordingly  travelled  alone  through  the  glens  and 
mountains  of  the  north  on  horseback,  with  the  view  of  convincing  the 
chieftains  of  the  cruelty  and  error  of  their  conduct  towaixls  their  unoffend- 
ing clansmen,  and  devising  schemes  for  the  immediate  relief  and  |)erma- 


132 

nent  elevation  of  those  unhappy  sons  of  toil ;  and  since  Mr.  Knox's  day 
no  author  that  I  am  aware  of  has  written  so  powerfully  on  the  distress  of 
the  Highlanders,  or  displayed  so  minute  and  accurate  a  knowledge  of  the 
remedies  best  adapted  for  their  condition.  True,  Mr.  Knox  was  no  flat- 
terer of  the  great,  no  visionary  dreamer.  He  did  not,  as  is  the  modern 
custom,  go  to  the  Highlands  to  calumniate  the  natives,  to  rei)resent  them 
as  drones  and  cumberers  of  the  ground,  in  order  to  minister  to  the  designs 
of  a  few  rapacious  capitalists  and  hard-hearted  landowners;  no,  he  went 
there  to  console  the  inhabitants  under  the  hardships  they  were  suffering — 
to  proclaim  to  the  world  their  patient  industry,  and  the  many  noble  virtues 
by  which  they  were  distinguished.  But  he  was  sensible  his  work  was  only 
half  done  when  he  accomplished  these  things.  A  iiractical  benefactor,  he 
examined  into  the  fishing  and  agricultural  capabilities  of  the  country,  and 
having,  after  incredible  labour,  satisfied  himself  that  the  Highlands  teem- 
ed with  resources,  sufficient  to  sustain  ten  times  the  number  of  human 
beings  that  were  starving  in  those  regions,  he  points  out  how  the  resources 
he  had  discovered  might  be  called  forth,  and  the  aboriginal  tribes  thereby 
kept  at  home,  and  made  useful  citizens,  instead  of  being  banished  like 
felons  into  far  distant  climes.  O  that  Scotchmen  of  the  present  day  would 
imbibe  a  little  of  Mr.  Knox's  wisdom  and  fervour  in  this  cause,  and  look 
with  the  same  compassionate  eye  that  he  did  towards  the  neglected  hills  of 
Caledonia:  but,  alas  !  I  fear  everything  like  a  disinterested,  manly  public 
spirit  is  dead  among  us,  and  the  age  is  vanished  when  the  Highlanders- 
would  have  disdained  to  ask  any  other  aid  save  that  of  their  own  good 
swords  to  right  their  own  wrongs.  But  did  Mr.  Knox  content  himself 
^vith  using  soft  words  while  witnessing  those  terrible  exhibitions  of  havoc, 
oppression,  and  expulsion  which  were  then  ])revalent  in  the  Highlands  % 
Very  far  from  it ;  being  convinced  that  the  chieftains  were  for  their  own 
mean  and  selfish  ends  madly  bent  on  destroying  a  community  that  might 
be  the  glory  and  stay  of  their  country  in  the  hour  of  peril,  his  indignation 
rose  in  proportion  to  the  magnitude  of  crime  those  infatuated  men  were 
committing,  and  he  speaks  of  their  doings  in  the  following  emphatic 
terms : — 

"  I  shall  not  waste  paper  on  arguments  which  with  some  minds  pass  as 
tinkling  sounds.  Since  neither  the  piecepts  of  Christianity  nor  philosophy 
can  make  any  impression — since  humanity  and  avarice  never  can  assimi- 
late— we  must  change  our  ground,  and  trace  the  subject  to  its  origin.  The 
earth  which  we  inhabit  was  given  for  the  general  support  and  benefit  of 
all  mankind,  by  a  Being  who  is  incapable  of  partiality  or  destinction ;  and 
though  in  the  arrangeoaents  of  society  the  earth  is  divided  into  very  un- 
equal proportions,  and  these  confined  to  a  few  individuals,  whilst  the  great 
body  of  the  people  are  totally  cut  off,  this  distribution  doth  not  give  the 
possessors  a  shadow  of  rigJit  to  deprive  mankind  of  the  frints  of  their  la- 
bour. The  earth  is  the  property  of  Him  by  whom  it  was  called  into  exist- 
ence ;  and,  strictly  sjjeaking,  no  person  hath  an  exclusive  right  to  any 
part  of  it  who  cannot  show  a  charter  or  deed  handed  down  from  the  ori- 
ginal and  only  Proprietor  of  all  nature;  if  otherwise,  they  hold  their  pos- 
sessions icpon  usage  only.     Grants  of  land  were  made  by  princes  to  their 


133 

champions,  friends  and  favourites;  and  these  have  been  handed  down  from 
father  to  son,  or  by  theui  transferred  to  new  possessors  ;  but  where  are  the 
original  charters  from  the  Author  of  nature  to  those  monarchs?  In  vain 
may  we  search  the  archives  of  nations  from  one  extreme  of  the  globe  to 
the  other.  If  so,  and  who  can  controvert  it]  the  man  who  toils  at  the 
])lough  from  five  o'clock  in  the  morning  to  sunset,  and  who  sows  the  seed, 
iiath  undoubtedly  a  right  to  the  produce  thereof,  preferably  to  the  lounger 
who  lies  in  bed  till  t^?n,  and  spends  the  remainder  of  the  day  in  idleness, 
extravagance,  and  frivolous  or  vicious  pursuits.  The  tenure  of  the  former 
is  held  from  God,  founded  on  the  eternal  law  of  justice  ;  the  claim  of  the 
latter  is  froni  jnan,  held  in  virtue  of  the  revolutions  and  casual  events  of 
nations. 

"  He  therefore  who  denies  his  fellow-creatures  the  just  earnings  of  their 
labour  counteracts  the  benovelent  intentions  of  the  Deity — deprives  his 
king  and  (.'onntry  of  an  industrious  and  useful  body  of  the  community, 
whom  he  drives  from  starvation  at  home  to  slavery  abroad — ought  to  he 
considered  as  an  avowed  enemy  of  societfi^  particularly  the  man  who  can 
take  the  cow  from  the  aged  widow,  and  afterwards  the  bed,  the  kettle,  and 
the  chair — thus  turning  out  the  decrepid  at  foui-score  to  wander  from  door 
to  door,  till  infirmities  and  grief  close  the  scene  of  tribulation. 

"  Since  human  laws  do  not  reach  such  persons,  while  petty  rogues  are 
cut  oflf  in  dozens,  their  names  ought  to  he  published  in  every  newspaper 
within  these  kingdoms,  and  themselves  excluded  from  any  place  of  honour 
or  profit  y  civil  or  military" 

Now,  Sir,  let  it  be  observed,  these  are  not  the  sentiments  of  a  person  who 
had  revolutionary  or  party  puii>oses  to  serve,  but  the  deliberate  opinions  of 
a  philosophic,  humane,  generous,  and  independent  spirit ;  who  could  take 
an  enlarged  view  of  the  nmtter  he  had  in  hand,  and  sincerely  feel  for  the 
di.stresses,  and  show  that  he  had  a  thorou'^h  percej)tion  of  the  inalienable 
rights  of  his  fellow-creatures.  But  I  fatigue  you,  and  I  would  just  add  in 
conclusion,  let  your  readers  ponder  well  the  quotation  I  have  just  given 
thenifiom  Mr.  Knox'spublication,andask themselves thequestion,  whether 
it  is  not  as  caj>able  of  being  applied  to  landowners,  both  in  the  High- 
lands and  Lowlands,  in  the  19th,  as  it  was  in  the  18th  century.  1  could 
instance  facts  to  prove  this  ;  but,  as  I  understand  ^Ir.  Donald  M'L<'od  is 
to  give  you  a  few  sketches  of  some  pictures  of  wretchedness  he  saw  in  Suth- 
erland lately,  I  forbear  in  the  meanwhile,  and  shall  simply  refer  you  to 
him  for  practical  illustrations  of  the  truth  of  the  general  statements  con- 
tained in  this  epistle.  I  am,  Sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

Edinburgh,  24th  July,  1844.  John  Steill. 

I  know  many  will  consider  that  I  ant  unwarrantably  attacking  the 
character  of  Minist^jrs  of  the  Gospel  ;  and  may  say  what  could  they  do  as 
they  had  no  control  over  the  j>roprietors.  Thank  God  that  the  Ciospel  or 
religion  is  not  to  be  measured  by  the  conduct  of  it«  j)reacher8,  and  that 
they  are  not  all  alike.  Read  the  following  from  the  pen  of  a  reverend 
gentleman,  whom  I  believe  to  be  a  faithful  Minister  of  Christ,  upon  the 
subject  I  have  liandled  a  little  ago,  and  I  think  when  you  will  read  the 


134 

evidence  of  so  many  witnesses  upon  oath,  you  will  admit  at  once  that  I 
have  not  exaggerated  Colonel  Gordon's  strictures,  and  none,  I  hope,  who 
will  read  the  conduct  and  co-operation  of  this  infamous  hireling,  Henry 
Bealson^  Minister  of  Barra,  with  Colonel  Gordon  in  the  evictions  in  thnt 
island,  cannot  but  admit  that  such  vicious  dogs  should  be  exposed,  and 
classed  in  this  world,  among  their  companions  through  eternity,  viz.,  op- 
pressors of  the  poor,  with  the  Devil  and  his  angels:  read  10th  chapter, 
Gospel  of  St.  John, 


THE  EXILED  BARRAMEN   AND  THEIR   CALUMNIATORS. 


"  "What  I  have  written,  I  well  know,  will  give  ofifence  to  many  petty  tyrants  :  but 
I  am  actuated  l)y  motives  of  humanity,  and  of  duty  to  the  common  Parent  and  Lord 
of  all  mankind.  And  I  thank  God,  who  has  given  me  grace  to  speak  the  truth 
with  boldness,  notwithstanding  the  menaces  of  certain  unprincipled  oppressors." — 
Rev.  J.  L.  Buchanan. 


"  Since  the  dawn  of  the.creation,  when  wicked  Cain  imbrued  his  hands 
in  the  blood  of  his  brother  Abel,  there  has  been  two  opposite  classes  in 
the  world,  viz, — oppressors  and  oppressed.  There  are  generally  other 
two  classes  who  step  in  as  seconds  in  this  unequal  contest  between  right 
and  wrong ;  and  that  is  the  fawning  party  who  })ut  their  Amen  to  the 
most  cruel  deeds  of  the  aich-oppressors,  and  also  those  who  are,  like  Moses 
grieved  at  the  sufferings  of  their  brethren,  and  who,  like  Job.  do  what 
they  can  to  "  break  the  arm  of  the  oppressor." 

Since  the  overthrow  of  West  Indian  Slavery  the  friends  of  human  free- 
dom in  Britain  have  been  resting  on  their  oars,  with  the  exception  of  an 
occasional  fling  at  American  despots,  and  no  doubt  congratulating  them- 
selves, as  well  they  might,  for  their  achievements  in  the  cause  of  liberty. 
But  let  them  not  conclude  that  a  complete  victory  is  obtained  even  at 
home.  The  following  disclosures  will  at  once  convince  every  philanti-o- 
phist  that  he  should  be  up  and  doing;  and  that  there  is  much  need  that 
a  share  of  that  noble  and  disinterested  sympathy  which  was  shown  to  the 
sable  sons  of  Africa  should  now  be  imparted  to  our  brethren  in  the 
Western  Hebrides. 

It  was  a  most  unlucky  day  to  the  Highlands  that  Sir  John  M*Neil  was 
commissioned  to  investigate  their  condition ;  and  the  one-sided  Report 
which  he  has  laid  before  the  Legislature  of  our  country  shows  how  incom- 
petent he  was  for  the  undertaking.  Our  analysis  of  the  annexed  docu- 
ment, which  he  obtained  from  the.  Parochial  Board  of  Barra,  and  which, 
by  the  way,  was  considered  by  the  pro-clearings  and  expatriating  Press  the 
cream  of  his  trashy  Report,  will  show  every  unprejudiced  reader  how  little 
confidence  may  be  placed  in  Sir  John's  evidence.  Our  readers  prol)ably 
recollect  the  excitement  which  was  caused  in  Glasgow  and  Edinburgh 
about  18  months  ago,  by  the  appearance  of  some  expatriated  and  starving 
Barramen.  The  unfeeling  conduct  of  the  proprietor.  Colonel  Goi-don,  and 
his  underlings  on  that  occasion  was  the  subject  of  many  well-merited 


135 

animadversions  ,  both  from  the  platform  and  the  press.  But  in  order  to 
shield  Colonel  Gordon  from  these  castigations,  the  Barra  authorities,  headed 
by  Henry  Beatson  their  minister,  have  thrown  their  mantle  around  him. 
and  besides  have  made  a  malicious,  but  a  most  silly  attack  upon  the  ex- 
patriated Barramen.  This  attack  is  now  fully  six  months  before  the 
public  ;  but  till  within  a  few  days  these  caluminated  creatures  have  not 
heard  a  word  of  it.  The  following  is  a  verbatim  copy  of  the  infamous 
document:  — 

"  We  are  acquainted  with  Barr  Macdougall,  Donald  M'Leaii,  commonly 
called  Donald  Hecterson,  Roderick  M'Neil,  senior,  and  Roderick  McNeil 
junior,  who  have  been  referred  to  in  the  newspapers  as  persons  who  had 
left  Barra  and  gone  to  Edinburgh  because  of  their  inability  to  obtain  the 
means  of  subsistence  here.  They  were  all  provided  with  houses  at  the 
time  of  their  departure.  They  were  all,  either  employed  by  the  Relief 
Committee  or  might  have  been  so  at  the  date  when  they  left  Barra.  With 
the  exception  of  Roderick  M'Neil,  senior,  who  left  this  in  the  first  week 
of  September,  all  the  others  left  Barra  in  July.  Barr  Macdougall  was 
notoriously  lazy,  and  beforeColonel  Gordon  had  acquired  this  property,  had 
voluntarily  surrendered  his  croft  at  Greine,  and  subsisted  thereafter  by 
begging,  for  which  purpose  he  perambulated  the  country.  On  the  failure 
of  the  potatoes  he  became  altogether  destitute,  and  was  received  upon  the 
lists  of  the  Relief  Committee.  Roderick  M'Neill,  junior,  was  employed 
by  Mr.  M*Alister  at  Is  a  day,  which  he  voluntarily  relinquished,  declaring 
that  the  wages  was  too  low.  He  then  applied  to  the  inspector  of  poor 
for  assistance,  and  was  refused,  on  the  ground  that  he  had  left  Mr.  M'Alis- 
ter's  service,  where  he  could  have  obtained  the  means  of  subsistence  He 
was  an  alile-bodied  man. 

Donald  M'Lean  was  an  indolent  man  who  never  did  much  work  even 
when  wages  could  be  earned  ;  whose  wife  perambulated  the  country  beg- 
ging from  house  to  house. 

Roderick  M'Neill,  senior,  was  several  times  accused  of  theft,  and  once 
apprehended  on  a  charge  of  sheep  stealing,  but  was  not  convicted. 

Of  Ann  M'Pherson  or  M'Kinnon,  nothing  is  known  in  Barra,  unless 
lie  be  a  sister-in-law  to  Roderick  M'Neil,  senior,  who  had  an  illegitimate 
hi  id  to  a  person  of  the  name  of  M'Pherson,  and  whose  own  name  is 
MKinnon. 

We  are  of  opinion  that  the  eleemosynai*y  relief  afforded  to  the  people 
has  had  a  proj»ulicial  effect  upon  thiir  character  and  habits  ;  that  it  has 
induced  many  to  misrepresent  their  circumstances  with  a  view  to  partici- 
pate  in  it  ;  that  it  has  taught  tlie  people  generally  to  rely  more  uponotiiers, 
and  less  upon  themselves;  and  that  we  h;ive  reason  to  believe  tliat,  relying 
upon  this  source  of  subsistence,  some  persons  even  neglected  to  sow  tlieir 
lands." 

(Signed)  Henr^  Beatson,  Minister. 

D.  W.  M'Gillvray,  J.P.,  Tacksman. 
Wni.  Birnie,  Manager  for  Colonel  Gordon, 
Donald  M.  Nicolson,  M.D.  Tacksman. 
Archibald  M'Douald,  Elder,  Tenant. 


136 

The  following  declaration  which  wo  have  obtained  from  three  of  the 
individuals  mentioned  in  the  preceding  document  is  a  true  statement  of  the 
case ;  being  corroborated  by  other  parties  who  are  well  acquainted  with 
the  state  of  affairs  in  that  island  : — 

Declaration  of  Barr  M'Dougall,  Roderick  M'Neill,  senior,  and  Ann 
M'Kinnon,  being  three  individuals  of  the  expatriated  people  of 
Barra. 

''  It  is  not  true  that  we  were  all  provided  with  houses  before  we  left 
Barra  ;  neither  were  we  employed,  nor  might  have  been  employed  by  the 
Relief  Committee  at  the  date  when  we  left  Barra.  Barr  M'Dougall,  and 
Donald  M'Lean  occupied  houses  on  the  farm  rented  by  Dr.  M'Gillvray, 
and  got  notice  to  quit  them  a  week  before  the  term  of  Whitsunday,  1850. 
They  did  not  remove  till  their  houses  had  been  partly  stripped  and  their 
fires  put  out.  Donald  M'Lean  did  not  remove  till  his  house  was  totally 
unroofed  and  remained  for  ten  days  within  the  bare  walla  without  any  cover- 
ing but  the  sail  of  a  boat :  though  he  was  at  the  time  lingering  under  the 
disease  of  which  he  has  since  died.  Barr  M'Dougall  did  not  give  up  his 
croft  at  Greine  voluntarily  ;  but  when  his  rent  was  augmented  without 
any  corresponding  advantages  he  fell  into  arrears,  like  all  his  neighbours.* 
His  stock  was  seized  by  the  factor  and  sold  for  the  arrears — consequently 
had  to  surrender  his  croft,  and  finally  his  native  country  along  with  it. 
Does  not  deny  that  he  sought  assistance  when  ])ressed  by  famine ;  but 
always  laboured  when  he  could  find  employment. 

Donald  M'Lean  was  not  indolent,  as  is  falsely  reported ;  but,  the  poor 
man  was  quite  incapable  of  standing  fatigue  or  hard  labour,  as  he  was  for 
a  long  while  labouring  under  the  consumptive  disease  which  relieved  him 
from  the  fangs  of  his  pampered  calumniators,  six  weeks  after  he  went  to 
Edinburgh. 

Roderick  M'Neil  senior,  was  not  several  times  accused  of  theft,  and 
never  apprehended.  There  was  an  attempt  made  once  to  implicate  him, 
by  another  man  who  broke  into  a  grocer's  shop  and  who  afterwards  (in 
order  to  lighten  his  own  punishment)  accused  Roderick  M'Neil,  senior,  as 
being  art  and  part ;  but  the  said  Roderick  appeared  before  the  Fiscal,  Mr. 
Duncan  M'Nee,  at  Lochmaddy,  North  Uist,  where  he  was  honourably  ac- 
quitted, and  was  paid  the  sum  of  twelve  shillings  for  his  trouble. 

Roderick  M'Neil,  junior,  laboured  for  a  long  time  for  the  Relief  Com- 
mittee, at  roads  and  other  works  for  lOJ  lbs  of  meal  per  week,  which  was 
all  the  means  of  subsistence  allowed  for  himself,  his  wife  and  tw^o  children. 
Finding  death  staring  them  in  the  face,  Roderick's  wife  went  to  the  su- 

*  For  the  information  of  our  readers  we  may  here  notice  the  manner  in  which 
the  Barra  crofters  have  been  reduced  to  their  present  condition.  When  kelp  was 
in  great  demand  the  former  proprietor,  started  a  kelp  manufactory,  at  which  the 
services  of  all  the  spare  hands  in  the  island  were  required.  He  always  preferred 
labour  to  money  ;  and  when  he  found  that  the  crofters  could  pay  their  rent  in  three 
months  he  increased  his  claims  gradually,  until  each  crofter  required  to  keep  a 
labourer  there  all  the  year  round.  After  the  manufacturing  of  kelp  stopped  the 
rents  continued  at  the  same  figure.  This  is  the  whole  secret  of  the  Barra  desti- 
tution. 


137 

perintendent  of  the  Relief  Board  and  begged  of  him  to  allow  her  to  work 
in  her  husband's  place  that  he  might  go  to  the  fishing,  jvhich  the  super- 
intendent granted  ;  and  for  this  favour  Roderick  shared  the  fish  with  him. 
There  were  many  females  labouring  for  10  hours  a  day  in  the  island  of 
Barra  at  that  time.  They  were  compelled  from  the  system  of  labour  to 
work  with  wheelbarrows  and  carry  burdens.  The  method  taken  to  load 
them  was  as  follo\vs  : — The  female  being  ordered  to  turn  her  back  to  the 
turf-cutter  and  to  place  her  hands  behind  in  a  position  almost  on  her  knee«, 
the  turfs  were  laid  on  her  back  in  succession  till  she  had  a  sufficient  bur- 
ded — enough  to  rise  under  and  carry  for  some  distance — there  lay  them 
down  to  come  back  for  more.  They  had  often  to  gather  their  petticoats 
about  the  sod  in  order  to  keep  it  on  their  back,  while,  in  wet  weather,  the 
water,  sometimes  the  melted  snow,  streamed  down  their  back  and  sides. 
At  this  work  Roderick  M'Neil's  wife  continued  till  within  two  days  of  her 
confinement !  ! ! 

Ann  M'Kinnon  acknowledges  having  had  a  child  ten  years  ago  ;  but 
neither  herself  nor  her  child  ever  became  a  burden  on  the  Parochial  Board 
of  Bai  ra ;  though  (in  consequence  of  the  fatlier's  death)  the  maintenence 
of  the  child  fell  entirely  on  herself  She  also  laboured  at  both  the  turf- 
carrying  and  the  wheelbarrow  so  long  as  she  could  get  work,  at  the  rate  of 
4  J  ll>s  of  meal  per  week. 

We  further  declare  that  we  went  to  Henry  Beatson,  minister,  requesting 
certificates  of  character,  which  he  refused,  alleging  that  he  was  not  in  the 
habit  of  giving  such  to  any  one.  However  we  see  that  he  has  sent  one 
after  us  ;  tliough  to  his  eternal  shame  he  has  given  it  in  direct  violation 
of  the  Holy  Scriptures  which  he  pretends  to  expound  to  the  people,  and 
which  s:iys,  '  Thou  shalt  not  raise  a  false  report  ;  put  not  thine  hand  with 
the  wicked  to  be  an  unrighteous  witness '. — Exod.  xxiii.  1.  That  the 
said  Henry  Beatson  is  a  most  unfeeling  person.  He  once  told  James 
M'Donald,  ac  indigent  man,  when  he  solicited  aid,  '  Go  to  the  mountains 
and  eat  grass  and  heather  ! '  He  has  been  most  energetic  in  assisting 
Colonel  Gordon's  underlings  in  forcing  away  from  their  fatherland  tlie  2000 
which  were  transported  to  America  from  Barra  and  South  Uist,  and  who 
are  now  begging  and  starving  in  Up|)er  Canada.  That  there  are  at  the 
present  time  men  and  wonjen  working  about  his  manse,  raising  fences, 
trenching,  itc,  for  one  pound  of  meal  ]>er  day,  and  although  they  would 
perish  of  cold,  they  dare  not  approach  the  minister's  kitchen  fire.  That 
the  meal  which  is  doled  out  on  these  hard  conditions,  under  the  superin- 
tend(Mice  of  .Mrs.  Beatson,  is  believed  to  be  the  remains  of  the  old  Relief 
Committee  n^eal. 

We  also  know  D.  W.  M'Gillvray,  J. P.,  Tacksman,  and  think  he  should 
be  the  last  to  speak  of  '  illegitimate  children,'  as  a  poor  idiotic  foujale  who 
l>erambulated  the  country  fatliered  a  child  on  him,  and  declared  that  var- 
ious stratjigems  were  tried  to  prevent  disclosures  which  cannot  be  men- 
tione<l  here. 

We  have  nothing  particular  to  say  of  Wni.  Bimie,  Manager  for  Colonel 
Gordon,  as  he  is  but  seldom  in  the  island. 

Of  Donald  N.  Nicolson,  M.D.,Tacksman,  we  will  only  wait  to  saiy  that 


138 

after  continuing  for  years,  *  adding  house  to  house  and  field  to  field/  the 
woes  which  are  })ronounced  against  such  have  at  last  overtaken  hiui ;  his 
whole  effects  having  been  sold  by  his  creditors  a  few  weeks  ago. 

Archibald  M'Donald,  Elder,  Tenant,  is  a  bastard  son;  and  the  gallant 
Colonel  himself  had  no  fewer  than  three  bastard  children  to  grace  the 
name  of  Gordon." 

The  above  declaration  was  taken  at  Glasgow,  on  the  26th  of  January, 
1852,  in  the  presence  of  the  undersigned  witnesses,  and  was  read  in 
Gaelic  to  the  Declarants,  who  affirm  that  it  is  correct. 

ARCHIBALD  SINCLAIR,  Witness. 
DUNCAN  M'DOUGALL,         do. 
NEIL  CAMPBELL,  do. 

WILLIAM  LIVINGSTONE,    do. 

As  the  Declarants  have  not  said  anything  in  reference  to  the  last  para- 
graph in  the  accusations,  we  would  simply  ask,  What  person  in  his  senses 
will  believe  that  "  eleemosynary  relief,"  as  administered  by  the  Barra 
Authorities,  would  have  the  tendency  to  make  the  recipients  "neglect  to 
sow  their  land"  so  long  as  they  are  allowed  to  gather  the  crumbs  that 
fall  from  the  Parochial  Board  ! 

To  follow  these  investigations  a  little  farther,  we  cannot  do  it  better 
than  by  giving  the  following  well  authenticated  communication  received 
from  a  gentleman  who  had  resided  for  some  time  in  Barra,  and  was  an  eye- 
witness of  the  enormities  perpetrated  there  during  the  summer  of  1851 : — 

"I'he  unfeeling  and  deceitful  conduct  of  those  acting  for  Colonel  Gor- 
don, in  Barra  and  South  Uist  last  summer,  cannot  be  too  strongly  censured. 
The  duplicity  and  art  which  was  used  by  them  in  order  to  entrap  the  un- 
wary natives  is  worthy  of  the  craft  and  cunning  of  an  old  slave-trader. 
Many  of  the  poor  people  were  told  in  my  hearing,  that  Sir  John  M'Neill 
would  be  in  Canada  before  them,  where  he  would  have  every  thing  neces- 
sary for  their  comfort  prepared  for  them.  Some  of  the  officials  signed 
a  document  binding  themselves  to  emigrate  in  order  to  induce  the  poor 
people  to  give  their  names;  but  in  spite  of  all  these  stratagems  many  of 
the  people  saw  through  them  and  refused  out  and  out  to  go.  When  the 
transports  anchored  in  Loch  Boisdale  the  tyrants  threw  otf  their  mask, 
and  the  work  of  devastation  and  cruelty  commenced.  Tlie  poor  people 
were  commanded  to  attend  a  public  meeting  at  Loch  Boisdale  where  the 
transports  lay,  and  according  to  the  intimation,  any  one  absenting  himself 
from  the  meeting  was  to  be  fined  in  Two  Pounds.  At  this  meeting  some 
of  the  natives  were  seized  and  in  spite  of  their  entreaties  were  sent  on 
board  the  transports.  One  stout  Highlander,  named  Angus  Johnstone, 
resisted  with  such  pith  that  they  had  to  hand-ciifFhim  before  he  could  be 
mastered  ;  but  in  consequence  of  the  priest's  interference  his  manacles 
were  taken  off  and  marched  between  four  officers  on  board  the  emigrant 
vessel.  One  morning,  during  the  transporting  season,  we  were  suddenly 
awakened  by  the  screams  of  a  young  female  who  had  been  recaptured  in 
an  adjoining  house  ;  having  escaped  after  her  first  apprehension.  We  all 
rushed  to  the  door  and  saw  the  broken-hearted  creature  with  dishevelled 


139 

hair  and  swollen  face,  dragged  away  by  two  constables  and  a  ground  officer. 
Were  you  to  see  the  racing  and  chasing  of  policemen,  constables,  and 
ground  officers,  pursuing  the  outlawed  natives  you  would  think,  only  for 
their  colour,  that  you  had  been  by  some  miracle  transported  to  the  banks 
of  the  Gambia  on  the  slave  coast  of  Africa. 

•'The  conduct  of  the  Rev.  H.  Beatson  on  that  occasion  is  deserving  of 
the  censure  of  every  feeling  heart.  This  *'Wolf  in  sheep's  clothing"  made 
himself  very  officious,  as  he  always  does  when  he  has  an  opportunity  of 
oppressing  the  poor  Barramen  and  of  gaining  the  favour  of  Colonel  Gor- 
don. In  fact,  he  is  the  most  vigilant  and  assiduous  officer  Colonel  Gordon 
has.  He  may  been  seen  in  Castle  Bay,  the  principal  anchorage  in  Barra, 
whenever  a  sail  is  hoisted,  directing  his  men,  like  a  game-keeper  with  his 
hounds,  in  case  any  of  the  doomed  Barramen  should  escape,  so  that  he 
might  get  his  land  cultivated  and  improved  for  nothing.  They  offered 
one  day  to  board  an  Arran  boat  who  had  a  poor  man  concealed,  but  the 
master,  John  Crawford,  lifted  a  hand-spike  and  threatened  to  split  the 
skull  of  the  first  man  who  would  attempt  to  board  his  l>oat,  and  thus  the 
poor  Barran)en  escaped  their  clutches. 

"  I  may  state  in  conclusion  that  two  girls,  daughters  of  John  M'Dou- 
gall,  brother  of  Barr  M'Dougall  whose  name  is  mentioned  in  Sir  John 
McNeill's  Report,  have  fled  to  the  mountains  to  elude  the  grasp  of  the  ex- 
patriators,  where  they  still  are,  if  in  life.  Their  father,  a  frail  old  man, 
along  with  the  rest  of  the  family,  have  been  sent  to  Canada.  The  resj)ec- 
tive  ages  of  these  girls  is  12  and  14  years.  Others  have  fled  in  the  same 
manner,  but  I  cannot  give  their  names  just  now." 

Let  us  now  follow  the  exiled  Barramen  to  the  "new  world"  and  witness 
their  deplorable  condition  and  privations  in  a  foreign  land.  Tiie  Quebec 
Times  s&ys: — 

"  Many  of  our  readers  may  not  be  aware  that  their  lives  such  a  pei-son- 
age  as  Colonel  Gordon,  proprietor  of  large  estates,  South  Uist  and  Barra, 
in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland;  we  are  sorry  to  be  obliged  to  introduce  him 
to  their  notice,  under  circumstances  which  will  not  give  them  a  very  fa- 
vourable opinion  of  his  character  and  lieart. 

"It  api>ears  that  tenants  on  the  above  mentioned  estates  were  on  the 
verge  of  starvation,  and  had  probably  become  an  eye-sore  to  the  gallant 
Colonel  !  He  decided  on  shipping  them  to  America.  What  they  were 
to  do  there,  was  a  question  lie  never  put  to  his  conscience.  Once  landed 
in  Canada,  he  had  no  further  concern  about  them.  Up  to  last  week,  1,100 
Bouls  from  his  estates  liad  landed  in  Quebec,  and  begged  tlicir  way  to  Up- 
per Canada  ;  when  in  the  summer  season,  having  only  a  morsel  of  food  to 
procure,  they  probably  escaped  the  extreme  misery  which  seems  to  be 
the  lot  of  those  who  followed  them. 

On  their  arrival  here,  they  voluntarily  made  and  signed  the  following 
statement: — **  We  the  undersigned  jiassengers  per  Admiral  froni  Storno- 
way,  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  do  solemnly  depose  to  the  following 
facts, — That  Colonel  Gordon  is  the*  proprietor  of  the  estates  of  Soutli  Uist 
and  Barra;  that  among  many  hundreds  of  tenants  and  cotters  whom  he 
has  sent  this  season  from  his  estjites  to  Qiajiada,  he  gave  directions  to  his 


i€m 


uo 

factor,  Mr.  Fleming  of  Cluny  Castle,  Aberdeenshire,  to  ship  on  board  of 
the  above  named  vessel  a  number  of  nearly  450  of  said  tenants  and  cottars 
from  the  estate  in  Barra — that  accordingly,  a  great  majority  of  these  peo- 
ple, among  whom  were  the  undersigned,  proceeded  voluntarily  to  embark 
on  board  the  Admiral,  at  Loch  Boisdale,  on  or  about  the  11th  August, 
1851  ;  but  that  several  of  the  people  who  were  intended  to  be  shipped  for 
this  port,  Quebec,  refused  to  proceed  on  board,  and  in  fact,  absconded 
from  their  homes  to  avoid  the  embarkation.  Whereupon  Mr.  Fleming 
gave  orders  to  a  policeman,  who  was  accompanied  by  the  ground  officer  of 
the  estate  of  Barra,  and  some  constables,  to  pursue  the  people  who  had 
ran  away  among  the  mountains ;  which  they  did,  and  succeeded  in  cap- 
turing about  twenty  from  the  mountains  and  islands  in  the  neighbourhood  ; 
but  only  came  with  the  officers  on  an  attempt  being  made  to  handcuff  them  ; 
and  that  some  who  ran  away  were  not  brought  back,  in  consequence  of 
which  four  families  at  least,  have  been  divided,  some  having  come  in  the 
ships  to  Quebec,  while  other  members  of  the  same  families  were  left  in  the 
Highlands. 

"  '  The  undersigned  further  declare,  that  those  who  voluntarily  em- 
barked did  so  under  promise  to  the  effect,  that  Colonel  Gordon  would 
defray  their  passage  to  Quebec  ;  that  the  Government  Emigration  Agent 
there  would  send  the  whole  party  free  to  Upper  Canada,  where,  on  arrival 
the  Government  Agents  would  give  them  work,  and  furthermore,  grant 
them  land  on  certain  conditions. 

"  'The  undersigned  finally  declare,  that  they  are  now  landed  in  Quebec 
so  destitute,  that  if  immediate  relief  be  not  afforded  them  and  continued 
until  they  are  settled  in  employment,  the  whole  will  be  liable  to  perish 
with  want.' 

•  (Signed)  Hector  Lamont, 

and  70  others. 

"  This  is  a  beautiful  picture.  Had  the  scene  been  laid  in  Russia  or 
Turkey  the  barbarity  of  the  proceeding  would  have  shocked  the  nerves  of 
the  readers  !  but  when  it  happens  in  Britain,  emphatically  the  land  of 
liberty  where  every  njan's  house,  even  the  hut  of  the  poorest,  is  said  to 
be  his  castle,  the  expulsion  of  these  unfortunate  creatures  from  their 
homes — the  man-hunt  with  policeman  and  Bailiffs — the  violent  separation 
of  families — the  parents  torn  from  the  child,  the  mother  from  her  daughter 
— the  infamous  trickery  practised  on  these  who  did  embark — the  aban- 
donment of  the  aged,  the  infirm  women,  and  tender  children  in  a  foreign 
land — form  a  tableau  which  cannot  be  dwelt  on  for  an  instant  without 
horror.  Words  cannot  depict  the  atrocity  of  the  deed.  For  cruelty  less 
savage,  the  dealers  of  the  South  have  been  held  up  to  the  execration  of 
the  world. 

And  if,  as  men,  the  sufferings  of  these  our  fellow-creatures  find  sympathy 
in  our  hearts,  as  Canadians  their  wrongs  concern  us  more  dearly.  The 
fifteen  hundred  souls  whom  Colonel  Gordon  has  sent  to  Quebec  this  season, 
have  all  been  supported  for  the  past  week  at  least,  and  conveyed  to  Upper 
Canada  at  the  exj)ense  of  the  Colony  ;  and  on  their  arrival  in  Toronto  and 
Hamilton,  the  greater  number  have  been  dependent  on  the  charity  of  the 


141 

benevolent  for  their  morsel  of  bread.  Four  hundred  are  in  the  river  at 
present  and  will  arrive  in  a  day  or  two,  making  a  total  of  nearly  2,000  of 
Colonel  Gordon's  tenants  and  cotters  whom  the  province  has  to  support. 
The  winter  is  at  hand,  work  is  becoming  scarce  in  Upper  Canada.  Where 
are  these  people  to  find  food  1 " 

Having  laid  a  great  mass  of  conclusive  evidence  befoi*e  the  public,  we 
must  now  "  sum  up."  We  are  certain  that  every  man  who  has  any  sense 
of  honour  and  justice  cannot  but  condemn  Colonel  Gordon  and  his  officials 
for  these  hitherto  unheard  of  cruelties,  and  will  loudly  protest  against  the 
woes  which  are  being  heaped  upon  the  head  of  the  poor  Hebridean.  Is 
such  conduct  as  we  have  now  recorded  to  be  winked  at  and  tolerated  by  a 
nation  who  have  laboured  more  in  the  sacred  cause  of  human  liberty  than 
any  other  nation  from  the  beginning  of  the  world  1  Are  those  very  men 
who  have  ungrudgingly  paid  £20,000,000  for  the  freedom  of  the  negroes 
on  a  few  of  the  West  Indian  islands  :  and  who  have  effected  the  emanci- 
pation of  every  captive  within  the  British  dominions,  to  stand  by  with 
folded  arms  and  not  offer  a  helping  hand  to  their  own  flesh  and  blood  in 
the  Western  Isles — to  those  who  have  victoriously  fought  their  l)attles  and 
kept  foreign  invadei-s  from  their  shores  ]  Are  they  to  remain  calm  and 
unmoved,  while  British  laws  are  being  violated,  and  the  poor  inoffensive, 
unprotected,  and  down-trodden  Celt  is  hand  cuffed  and  dragged  from  his 
country  and  his  kinsman  with  less  regard  to  his  comfort  than  if  he  were  a 
l>ea8t  of  burden  ?  Certainly  not.  And  we  are  coniident  that  all  an  en- 
lightened and  a  benevolent  public  require  to  stir  them  up  to  cause  a  proper 
and  impartial  investigation  being  made  is  to  lay  the  case  explicitly  before 
them.  Instead  of  trusting  to  a  "  broken  reed,"  as  Sir  John  M'Neil  has 
proved  himself  to  be,  let  a  disinterested  public  act  in  this  case  as  they 
have  done  in  that  already  mentioned.  In  1838,  when  conflicting  accounts 
of  the  cruelties  endured  by  the  Africans  were  wafted  across  the  Western 
Ocean,  inslead  of  confiding  in  the  report  brought  by  Government  Officials, 
thefriendsof  the  Negro  sent  a  deputation  of  enlightened  and  fearh^ss  men 
who  brought  back  a  trustworthy  report,  and  they  went  to  work  accord- 
ingly. Let  them  do  the  same  now  and  send  men  who  will  not  pass  by  the 
cottage  of  the  poor  but  will  listen  to  what  he  has  to  say — neither  will  ac- 
cept of  the  gifts  of  the  rich,  and  we  have  no  doubt  that  the  result  will  be 
the  same — the  emancipation  of  the  poor  Hebridean  and  liis  restoration  to 
his  rights  and  his  responsibilities  as  a  British  subject.  Tiien  petty  tyrants 
will  see  that  however  well  concocted  their  plans — however  far  removed 
from  the  public  eye  "that  their  sins  will  find  them  out." 

I  ask  Mrs.  Stowe,  what  is  your  Uncle  Tom^a  Cabin  or  your  Died  in 
comparison  to  such  treatment  as  this?  and  dare  you  say  in  the  face  of 
such  (living)  evidence  that  my  narrative  is  a  ridiculous  unfounded 
calumny,  and  ridiculous  and  absurd  accusation.  I  am  told  when  writing 
this  that  you  were  lately  in  Home  paying  homage  to  his  Holiness  and  his 
Jesuit  Ministers  and  kissing  his  toe;  but  whatever  indulgence  he  nniy  grant 
you  for  jHjrverting  truth  and  falsifying  philosophy,  and  whatever  promises 
he  has  made  to  you   for  absolutions  tor  such  sins,   I   tell  you  in   plain 


142 

Heeland  Scotch  terras  that  you  will  find  all  his  promises  insufficient  to 
screen  or  protect  you  from  me,  in  your  future  praise  of  Highland  Pro- 
prietors. And  may  I  not  ask,  why  is  not  all  the  Christian  nations  of  the 
world  up  with  a  united  universal  cry  of  disapprobation  of  the  system, 
law,  and  reprobation  of  the  foul  deeds  committed  under  the  protection  of 
such  law  and  system,  and  demand  of  the  British  Jjegislature  their  aboli- 
tion and  erasement  from  the  Statute  book,  and  retribution  of  their  rights 
to  their  victims — a  cry  and  demand  in  which  the  slave  owners  of  America 
would  have  a  tenfold  better  right  to  join  than  the  English  aristocracy 
had  to  remonstrate  with  them  on  American  Slavery. 

The  following  is  my  appeal  published  before  T  left  Scotland  : 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Northern  Ensign. 

Sir, — Highland  destitution  and  famine  in  the  Highlands  have  become 
proverbial  and  so  familiar  that  people  think  and  speak  of  them  as  a 
calamity  hereditary  to  the  Highlanders  ;  and,  indeed,  since  they  have  be- 
come so  burdensome  to  the  public  for  the  last  half  century  (keeping  them 
alive  upon  charity),  the  more  fortunate  portion  of  the  Christian  world  are 
beginning  to  think,  and  say,  that  they  should  not  exist  any  longer,  and 
that  the  sooner  they  are  exterminated  the  better.  The  appellation  Gael, 
Celt,  or  Gaul,  has  now  become  a  reproach  ;  yet  those  to  whom  the  titles 
originally  belong  were  at  one  time  the  terror  and  admiration  of  all 
Europe.  They  at  one  period  inhabited  Upper  Asia,  and  took  possession 
of  Italy,  and  marched  upon  Rome  390  years  before  the  advent  of  Christ 
— defeated  the  Roman  army,  laid  the  city  in  a  heap  of  ruins,  and  levied 
one  thousand  pounds  weight  of  gold  of  the  then  invincible  Romans  to 
purchase  their  departure.  They  were  the  people  of  whom  Cccsar  said — 
after  a  fearful  struggle  of  ten  years  fighting,  in  which  his  army  cut  off 
one  million  of  them — that  he  never  observed  one  Gael  turning  his  back, 
but  that  they  all  died  fighting  in  their  ranks  without  yielding  one  foot. 
But  to  come  nearer  home.  They  were  a  race  of  men  who,  when  they 
had  to  encounter  the  Romans  at  the  foot  of  the  Gram})ian  Hills  (under 
the  command  of  Galgacus),  defied  the  Roman  legion  (under  the  com- 
mand of  Agricola,  the  most  renowned  of  the  Roman  generals),  whose 
discipline,  science,  and  civilization,  on  that  bloody  occasion,  drew  forth 
the  admiration  of  Tacitus,  the  Roman  annalist,  who  declared  that  the 
Caledonian  Celts  were  the  most  formidable  enemy  and  the  bravest  people 
that  ever  R,ome  encountered — that,  indeed,  they  were  unconquerable. 
That  learning  and  civilization  followed  this  race  of  people  is  evident,  and 
could  be  proved  from  a  chain  of  Scottish  historians  whose  works  are 
still  extant.  *  I  am  tired,'  said  a  distinguished  writer  many  centuries 
ago,  '  of  having  Roman  authors  quoted  when  the  commencement  of  our 
civilization  is  spoken  of,  while  nothing  is  said  of  the  Celts,  or  of  our  obli- 
gations to  them.'  It  was  not  the  Latins,  it  was  the  Celts,  who  were  our 
first  instructors.  Aristotle  declared  that  philosophy  was  derived  by  the 
Greeks  from  the  Gauls,  and  not  imparted  to  them. — [See  introduction  to 
Logan's  "  Scottish  GaeL") 


143 

You  will  pardon  me,  should  I  ask,  through  you,  the  most  avowed 
and  inveterate  enemies  of  the  Highlander,  where,  or  when,  has  the 
UigJiland  Celt  stained  the  character  given  them  by  the  Roman  annalist 
at  tlie  early  period  of  our  history  ?  If  we  turn  up  the  annals  of  Euro- 
pean hloody  battle  fields,  from  the  Grampians  to  Waterloo,  where  will 
we  find  bravery  to  excel  Highland  bravery  1  If  we  look  for  discipline, 
morality  and  religion,  among  the  British  army,  we  must  find  such  in  the 
Highland  regiments. 

We  have  now  a  small  remnant  of  the  progeny  of  this  mighty  race  of 
men  who  conquered  civilized  and  enliglitened  Europe,  yea  more,  who 
converted  Europe  from  heathenism  and  paganism  to  Christianity  ;  I  say 
we  have  them  in  obscure  comers  of  the  West  and  North  Highlands  of 
Christianized,  vain,  vaunting,  civilized  Scotland,  dying  by  famine,  to 
the  everlasting  disgrace,  confusion,  and  abhorrence  here  and  hereafter, 
of  those,  and  their  abettors,  to  whose  cupidity,  ambition,  and  steel  hearted 
inhumanity,  thousands  of  deaths  in  the  Highlands  could  be  attributed. 
Let  this  be  told  and  proclaimed  throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of 
the  land,  on  ever}  market-cross,  and  in  every  place  of  resort,  all  over 
Europe — that  Roman  Catholic  and  Mahommedan  nations  may  record  it 
against  them,  when  endeavours  are  making  to  proselytise  them.  But 
thank  God  that  Christianity  is  not  to  be  measured  by  the  conduct  of  Chiis- 
tians  ;  if  it  were  the  heathens  would  do  well  to  reject  it. 

Let  the  Legislature  of  this  nation  (to  their  .shame)  know  it,  that  the 
only  portion  of  Her  Majesty's  subjects  who,  by  language  and  appearance, 
legitimately  can  lay  claim  to  be  the  progeny  of  those  who  chastised  and 
forced  many  a  formidable  invader  from  Britain's  shore — who  fought  the 
battles  of  this  nation  at  home  and  abroad,  from  the  day  of  the  Gram- 
pians to  Waterloo,  and  who  brought  immortal  praise  and  laurels  of 
victory  home  to  Britain — let  the  representatives  of  Scotland  (the  dumb 
dogs,  with  one  honourable  exception,  Mr.  Cowan)  know  it — that  in 
return  for  their  ancestor's  services  to  the  nation,  they,  the  progeny  are 
doomed  to  die  by  famine,  or  be  exterminated  from  the  land,  so  dear  to 
them  by  many  sacred  ties,  by  compulsory  emigmtion,  that  they  were 
made  subject  to,  and  left  the  victims  of  the  most  wanton  cruelty,  ingrati- 
tude, and  injustice  that  the  most  avaricious  liarbarians  could  devise. 
That  the  most  fertile  valleys,  straths,  and  glens  of  Caledonia,  which  they 
have  Ijeen  for  ages  defending,  and  purchased  so  often  with  their  dearest 
blood,  are  depopulated,  and  convei*tcd  by  a  few  selfish  minions,  who  have 
neither  ancestry  nor  bravery  to  boast  of,  if  they  were  properly  searched, 
into  deer-forests  and  hunting-parks,  for  the  amusement  of  English  snobs 
and  sporting  gents,  where  the  image  of  God  upon  a  Gael  dare  not 
approach  ;  while  the  Celts,  who  can  boast  of  both  bravery  and  ancestry, 
are  turned  adrift  as  beings  of  no  value,  upon  barren,  unproductive  moore 
and  precipices,  and  on  skirts  exposed  to  all  the  casualities  of  the  season, 
depi-ived  of  every  means  to  better  their  condition.  Here  they  are  dying, 
or  living,  what  wo  may  term  a  lingorin;?,  agonizing  death,  fed  by  the 
cold,  sparing,  stinted  hand  of  charity,  when  twenty -four  lines  (upon  an 
octavo)  of  an  Act  of  Parliament  would  cure  all. 


144 

In  the  days  of  one  of  the  Csesars  (during  what  are  called  the  dark  ages) 
there  was  a  law  in  Rome,  that  none  would  be  allowed  to  sit  in  the  State 
Council,  ride  in  a  chariot,  hold  any  public  office,  or  sit  at  a  public  feast, 
while  it  was  known  that  any  of  his  dependents  were  in  want ;  and  du- 
ring the  prosperous  and  victorious  days  of  Greece,  they  had  two  tem- 
ples built,  one  for  virtue  and  one  for  honour,  and  so  constructed  that  it 
was  impossible  to  enter  the  temple  of  honour  without  going  through  the 
temple  of  virtue, — intended  for  a  noble  purpose,  and  it  had  the  desired 
effect  in  those  days.  Would  to  God  we  had  such  qualifications,  and  we 
would  not  have  so  many  direful  revolting  deeds  perpetrated,  and  so  many 
ignobles  raised  to  honour  and  titles  till  there  is  no  room  to  ascend.  Let 
the  ministers  of  the  everlasting  Gospel,  the  ambassadors  of  Christ,  hear 
it,  that  in  proportion  as  the  people  are  diminished  and  extirpated,  their 
services  will  be  less  required — sheep,  bullocks,  deer,  blackcocks,  and 
pheasants,  will  require  no  ministry.  It  is  a  part  of  their  commission  to 
plead  the  widow,  the  fatherless,,  and  the  orphan's  cause — to  resist  and 
denounce  the  oppressors, — to  follow  the  example  of  their  Master  and 
the  prophets  in  reproviug  evil  doers.  How  can  they  prostrate  them- 
selves at  the  throne  of  mercy,  pleading  with  God  for  the  spiritual  wants 
of  their  flocks,  and  not  utter  a  word  against  these  wolves  who  are  tramp- 
ling under  foot,  scattering  their  flocks  by  banishment  (under  the  name 
of  emigration)  depriving  them  of  the  land  created  for  their  subsistence, 
and  bestowing  it  upon  brute-beasts — thus  ushering  thousands  to  a  pre- 
mature grave  1  How  can  they  see  this,  and  not  interpose,  plead  with 
God,  and  call  upon  the  nation  to  their  assistance,  that  the  ungodly,  un- 
national,  and  unjust  law  which  tolerates  and  protects  such  evil-doers,  may 
be  expunged  from  the  Statute  book  1  This  is  their  duty — they  may  seek 
a  subterfuge  to  disregard  it,  but  if  they  will,  T/ie  day  is  coining  when 
tliey  shall  repent^  if  they  can  find  a  place  for  repenta?ice.  Thank  God  we 
have  a  Rev.  Charles  Thomson  in  Wick,  a  Dr.  Begg  in  Edinburgh,  and 
others — For  woe*s  me,  my  people  are  rohhed  and  sold,  and  those  who  rob 
them  say,  Blessed  he  the  Lord,  for  I  am  rich,  and  their  own  shepherds  pity 
them  not. 

I  would  ask  the  mercantile  and  manufacturing  portion  of  this  nation, 
will  you  stand  by  carelessly  and  callously,  seeing  the  home  market  des- 
troyed, millions  of  those  that  should  and  would  be  the  consumers  of  your 
goods  banished  from  our  shores,  dying  by  famine,  or  living  in  a  state  of 
misery  and  wretchedness,  that  they  can  be  of  no  service  to  you,  but  the 
reverse — a  burden  to  you  1  I  leave  you  to  reflect  upon  this  for  a  time. 
Sheep  and  bullocks  may  supply  you,  but  they  will  take  very  little  in  ex- 
change ;  but  supply  and  demand,  when  corresponding,  are  the  very  life 
of  the  home  market.  I  ask  you,  literary  men  or  knowledge  manufac- 
turers,— How  are  the  })eople  ignorant  1  The  people  are  in  misery,  dy- 
ing by  famine,  and  cannot  buy  knowledge.  There  is  abundance  of 
wealth  in  the  land,  and  abundance  of  work  before  you ;  but  if  the  peo- 
ple are  banished  from  the  land  or  die  by  famine,  you  may  shut  your 
sho})S,  for  sheep,  bullocks,  deer,  black  cocks,  and  pheasants  will  not  em- 
ploy you,  and  you  need  not  attempt  to  teach   them.     Rise,  then,   from 


145 

your  lethargy,  and  stand,  no  longer  in  your  criminally  callous  indifference 
regarding  the  producing  classes.  You  are  the  fourth  estate,  and  to 
whom  much  is  given,  much  shall  be  required.  To  the  Government  of 
this  nation  I  would  say,  and  put  them  in  mind,  that  this  kingdom  wag 
often  invaded  before,  and  often  threatened,  and  it  may  happen  yet.  You 
have  allowed  the  best  part  of  the  national  ramparts  to  be  trodden  down 
and  razed  to  the  foundation,  you  have  allowed  the  patriotism  or  love  of 
country  which  was  characteristic  of  Highlanders  and  which  was  so 
powerful  to  animate  them  at  all  times  when  encountering  an  enemy,  to 
be  destroyed  ;  you  have  allowed,  and  helped  to  banish  them  from  your 
sliores,  to  foreign  strands,  where,  at  no  distant  period,  they  or  their  off- 
spring may  become  as  formidable  enemies  as  their  sires  were  formidable 
friencls.  Then  you  will  find  that  cruel  Highland  proprietors,  English 
snobs,  and  sporting  gents,  sheep,  bullocks,  rams,  deer,  blackcocks,  and 
pheasants,  will  make  but  a  poor  stand  for  your  nation's  defence.  I  say, 
reflect.  This  is  the  time,  this  is  the  day  to  retract,  to  retrieve,  and  to  re- 
claim lost  confidence,  and  make  reparation  to  the  unfortunate  Highland 
victims  of  maladministration  and  of  cruel  short-sighted  policy. 

The  accounts  received  daily  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Highland  Destitu- 
tion Relief  Committee  (of  which  I  am  a  member)  are  heart-rending  and 
revolting  to  humanity.  A  reverend  gentleman  writes  thus  : — '  You  have 
sent  me  two  pounds ;  I  bought  meal  with  the  money  but  there  were  so 
many  applicants  for  relief  that  I  had  to  divide  it  in  ounces.*  Anotber 
writes ; — '  I  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  £5,  but  I  must  keep  it  a  secret 
or  the  people  will  storm  my  house  ;  yet  I  am  travelling  among  them, 
and  enquiring,  and  where  I  find  that  death  by  famine  is  approaching,  I 
administer  relief.  I  need  not  trouble  you  with  any  more.  This  is  a 
sample  of  them  all.'  People  of  high  standing  in  society  were  finding 
fault  with  me  for  advising  the  poor  Highlanders  to  take  sheep  or  any 
other  animal  they  could  get  their  hands  on  and  eat  them,  before  they 
would  allow  themselves  or  their  children  to  die  ;  but  I'll  warrant  you, 
if  these  gentlemen  were  only  getting  an  ounce  each  of  oatmeal  to  make 
water  gruel  for  their  supper,  in  Edinburgh,  and  had  no  other  prospect  for 
food  until  a  few  more  ounces  came  from  the  Isle  of  Skye,  there  would  not 
be  a  hen-roost  nor  pig-stye  in  or  about  Edinburgh  but  they  would  pay 
a  visit  to  before  morning,  and  where  they  would  help  themselves.  This 
is  a  feai-ful  state  of  matters  in  a  country  professing  Christianity.  Yet, 
however  dreadfid  and  threatening  it  is,  I  have  often  said,  and  will  say  it 
yet,  that  until  the  land  in  the  Highlands  is  under  a  difiei-ent  system  of 
management,  matters  will  be  getting  worse  and  worse.  I  hope  that 
the  Rev.  Charles  Thomson's  exhortation  in  your  last  will  l>e  followed 
up  by  every  one  whose  breast  contains  a  spark  of  hunianity,  and  who  is 
favoured  with  an  opportunity. — I  am,  Ac., 

DONALD  M'LEOD. 
16,  South  Richmond  Street, 
Edinburgh,  July  14,  1851. 


146 

I  have,  in  the  preceding  pages,  particularized  the  Duke  of  Sutherland 
as  chief  depopulator  of  the  Highlands  ;  I  must  now  notice  those  next  to 
him,  Athol,  Breadalbane,  Lord  Macdonald,  and  Gordon,  as  you  will  see 
from  the  following  : — A  gentleman  of  the  name  of  R.  Alister,*in  1853, 
wi'ote  a  work  which  was  inscribed  to  another  patriotic  philanthropist  of  the 
name  of  Patrick  Edward  Dove,  Edinburgh,  titled  "  Barriers  to  National 
Prosperity,"  in  which  he  demonstrates  the  short-sighted  policy  of  Highland 
proprietors  in  a  style  worthy  of  the  author  and  editor,  INIr.  Dove.  The  Mar- 
quis of  Breadalbane  was  offended  at  seeing  the  work  advertised,  and  wrote 
the  following  letter  through  the  public  press.  As  I  was  not  personally 
acquainted  Avith  the  extent  of  the  clearance  system  in  that  quarter,  I  con- 
sider the  most  prudent  step  I  can  adopt  is  to  give  verbatim  Breadalbane's 
letter  and  Mr.  Alister's  reply  : — 

COPY  LETTER. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Perthshire  Advertiser. 

21  Park  Lane,  London,     ) 
June  18,  1853.  j 

"  Sir, — My  attention  has  been  directed  to  an  article  in  the  Perthshire 
Advertiser,  of  the  13th  ultimo.,  in  which  a  work,  entitled  Barriers  to  the 
National  Prosperity  of  Scotland,  is  reviewed,  and  from  which  are  quoted 
passages  tending  to  give  an  impression  of  the  management  of  my  estates- 
in  the  Highlands,  which  is  inconsistent  with  the  facts. 

The  extract  from  Mr.  Alister's  work  to  which  1  more  particularly 
allude  is  the  following  : — "  At  the  present  rate  of  depopulation,  the  High- 
lands must  soon  be  one  vast  wilderness  ;  and  although  their  numbers  were 
never  great  in  the  British  Army,  yet  we  aver  that  one-tenth  of  the  men 
"who  fought  in  the  last  war  could  not  be  got  in  the  Highlands.  Many  of 
the  smaller  glens  are  totally  cleared,  and  any  of  the  peasantry  remaining 
do  not  calculate  that  they  can  obtain  a  home  for  many  years  longer. 
Glencoe,  the  Black  Mount,  and  Lochtayside,  where  the  Campbells 
flourished,  are  swept ;  and  although  no  difficulty  was  experienced  by  the 
late  Marquis  of  Breadalbane  in  raising  three  battalions  of  fencibles  at  the 
last  war,  we  are  sure  that  150  men  could  not  now  be  obtained." 

Glencoe  does  not,  and  never  did,  belong  to  me. 

Mr.  Alister  appears  to  labour  under  a  mistake  as  to  the  history  of  the 
Black  Mount,  inasmuch  as  he  would  seem  to  assert  that  it  was  formerly 
densely  inhabited ;  whereas  the  fact  is,  that,  as  far  back  as  the  records  of 
my  family  reach  (for  some  centuries)  till  towards  the  close  of  last  century, 
when  it  was  put  into  very  large  sheep  farms,  that  country  was  always  a 
deer  forest,  and  consequently  uninhabited,  except  by  the  foresters.  As  I 
began  to  convert  it  again  into  a  forest  upwards  of  thirty  years  since,  it  is 
obvious  that  it  could  only  have  been  in  the  hands  of  tenants  for  a  (com- 
paratively speaking)  short  period.  The  present  population  of  that  district 
is,  I  believe,  as  gi-eat  as  it  was  in  the  times  to  which  Mr.  Alister  alludes, 
and,  in  point  of  fact,  the  number  of  families  employed  by  me  tlieje  now, 
as  shepherds  and  foresters,  is  much  the  same  as  the  number  who  lived 
there  when  the  ground  was  tenanted  by  farmers. 

*  Mr,  Alex.  Eobertson  of  Dundonachie. 


147 

On  my  Nether  Lome  property,  I  believe  the  population  to  be  greater 
than  it  was  fifty  or  sixty  years  ago. 

The  })opulation  on  the  banks  of  Loch  Tay  is  certainly  not  as  large  as  it 
was  twenty  years  since,  and  it  is  fortunate  for  all  parties  concerned  that  it 
is  not,  as  a  continuance  of  the  old  system  would,  before  this,  have  pro- 
duced disastrous  results. 

When  I  succeeded  to  the  proi^erty,  I  found  the  land  cut  up  into  pos- 
sessions too  small  for  the  proper  conduct  of  agricultural  operations,  or  the 
full  employment  of  the  occupiers.  The  consequence  was,  that  habits  of 
idleness  were  engendered,  great  poverty  existed,  and  the  cultivation  of  the 
land  was  in  a  most  unsatisfactory  state — the  social,  the  moral,  and  physi- 
cal condition  of  the  people  being  thus  unfavourably  aftected. 

A  continuance  of  this  state  of  matters  was  clearly  inconsistent  with  the 
improvement  of  the  country  and  the  welfare  of  the  inhabitants,  subjects 
to  which  I  at  once,  on  my  succession,  directed  my  attention,  and  to  which 
I  have  ever  since  constantly  directed  my  best  thoughts. 

To  carry  these  views  into  etlect,  it  was  absolutely  necessary  that  the 
holdings  should  be  so  increased  in  size  as  to  give  sufficient  employment  to 
the  resources  of  the  occupiers,  and  this  could  only  be  done  by  consolidat- 
ing some  of  the  smallest  possessions,  retaining  the  tenants  who  appeared 
most  likely  to  profit  by  the  change. 

In  no  case  was  this  done  in  the  way  implied  by  Mr.  Alister,  as  the 
changes  were  always  made  gradually,  and  so  as  to  produce  as  little  incon- 
venience as  possible  to  those  whom  it  was  necessary  to  remove.  Indeed, 
-whenever,  from  the  circumstances  of  the  case,  it  was  practicable,  those 
who  were  removed  were  offered  other  houses. 

In  reality,  there  has  been  no  depopulation  of  the  district,  in  the  seftse 
in  which  the  word  is  usually  accepted.  There  is  still  a  large  population 
on  both  sides  of  Loch  Tay,  and  almost  all  the  land  is  still  held  in,  com- 
paratively speaking,  small  possessions. 

The  results  of  the  system  I  have  pursued  speak  for  themselves.  If  any 
l^erson  who  saw  Lochtayside  twenty  years  since  were  to  see  it  now,  he 
could  not  fail  to  be  struck  with  the  change  for  the  better  in  the  face  of 
the  country,  in  the  state  of  the  dwellings,  and  in  the  appearance  and 
habits  of  the  people. 

A  very  satisfactory  proof  of  the  flourislnng  condition  of  the  people  may 
be  found  in  the  fact,  that,  while  the  inhabitants  of  many  parts  of  the 
Highlands  were  suffering  from  famine  in  the  years  1846-47,  and  were  to 
a  great  extent  indebted  for  mere  existence  to  the  charity  of  the  public, 
none  of  the  money  so  collected  was  expended  on,  or  required  by,  the 
inhabitants  of  my  estat<;s,  even  on  the  west  coast.  All  were  supported  by 
internal,  not  by  external  aid,  although  the  failure  of  the  potato  crop  was 
quite  as  complete  there  as  in  other  parts  of  the  Highlands.  Indeed, 
money  was  raised  in  these  districts  in  aid  of  the  general  funds  collected 
for  the  alleviation  of  the  famine. 

In  no  part  of  the  Highlands  are  the  religious  and  educational  wants  of 
the  inhabitants  better  provided  for,  nor  are  there  fewer  i)ublic-houses. 

In  looking  over  my  factorial  accounts,  I  find  that,  on  my  Perthshire 


148 

jiroperty,  I  have  expended,  in  employing  the  people  in  useful  works, 
X18S,750;  on  Glenurchay,  a  part  of  my  Argyleshire  property,  £19,402; 
and  on  the  other  part  a  similar  sum  in  proj)ortion — in  each  case  from  the 
period  of  my  succession  down  to  1852  (eighteen  years). 

Having  stated  these  facts  regarding  the  management  of  my  property, 
and  my  conduct  towards  those  residing  upon  it,  I  fearlessly  ask,  am  I 
justly  obnoxious  to  the  imputation  of  being  regardless  of  the  prosperity 
and  happiness  of  the  people  upon  it?  Have  I  recklessly  driven  out  from 
its  mountains  and  its  glens  the  interesting  and  gallant  race  that  formerly 
resided  there? — I  remain,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

(Signed)  Breadalbane. 


LETTER  I. 

To  the  most  noble  the  Marquis  of  Breadalbane. 

"  My  Lord, — For  the  last  fifteen  years  I  have  been  brought  into  imme- 
diate contact  with  the  middle  and  lower  orders  in  various  parts  of  Scot- 
land, and  during  that  period  I  have  observed  that  the  section  of  our 
population  deriving  their  suj^port  from  land  have  been  subjected  to  some 
grievances,  so  much  so  that  their  means  of  living  have  become  pinched, 
and  multitudes,  who  would  have  submitted  to  great  privations  at  home, 
have  nevertheless  been  compelled  to  expatriate  themselves  from  the  coun- 
try so  dearly  loved,  or,  what  is  worse,  take  shelter  in  the  dungeons  of  a 
large  town.  For  a  long  time  it  puzzled  me  to  understand  how  a  country 
growing  in  commercial  prosperity  must  be  declining  in  its  agricultural 
population;  and  while  the  towns  were  doubling  their  residenters,  and  con- 
sequently demanding  greater  supples  of  food,  yet  all  the  while  vast  tracts 
of  producing  land  should  be  thrown  waste!  Any  enquiries  that  I  could 
make  were  generally  answered,  that  the  peasantry  must  make  way  before 
the  improvements  of  modern  agriculture ;  but  that  explanation  I  never 
was  satisfied  with,  and  I  never  was  at  peace  until  I  found  out  what 
appeared  to  me  to  be  the  real  cause  of  such  great  evils ;  for  I  could  not 
shut  my  eyes  to  the  fact  that  rural  depopulation  and  the  overpeopling  of 
towns  stood  linked  together  as  cause  and  effect.  As  your  Lordship  must 
know,  I  traced  out  these  evils  to  the  Laws  of  Entail,  which  have  concen- 
trated vast  territories  into  the  hand  of  a  single  individual,  while  they  pre- 
vented peasant  proprietorship, — a  system  that  has  produced  magical  benefits 
wherever  it  has  been  allowed  to  come  into  operation.  The  Game  Law 
rules  I  also  found  to  be  a  wicked  instrument,  seized  by  lairds  for  banishing 
the  peasantry,  and  for  desolating  great  tracts  of  land.  The  Laws  of 
Hypothec  I  also  found  operated  most  injuriously  against  society,  by  unduly 
enlarging  the  size  of  farms,  by  giving  illegitimate  security  to  lairds  for 
rents,  and  for  increasing  the  price  of  rent  to  a  fictitious  amount.  The 
abolition  of  these  unjust  laws  is  all  the  cure  that  I  suggest,  and  I  hesitate 
not  to  affirm  that  if  their  abolition  were  secured,  a  most  healthful  im- 
provement, both  moral  and  physical,  M'ould  be  apparent  in  Scotland,  and 
that  at  no  postponed  date. 


149 

Your  Lordship  is  aware  that  I  brought  these  views  under  public  no- 
tice in  a  volume  entitled,  "  Barriers  to  the  Prosperity  of  Scotland  ;  "  at 
the  same  time  labouring  to  prove  that  a  country  cannot  long  survive  the 
loss  of  its  peasantry,  or,  if  it  did  exist,  it  would  be — like  Samson,  de- 
])rived  of  his  hair — shorn  of  all  that  was  morally  fair  or  physically  good. 
I  have  laboured  to  show  how  the  peasant  at  home  loves  his  country  and 
his  God,  but  when  huddled  into  the  pestiferous  alleys  of  a  large  town, 
he  loses  his  physical  strength  and  his  religious  principle ;  and  his  family, 
which,  in  the  cottaroon,  would  be  brought  up  in  thrift  and  in  virtue, 
would,  like  the  rest,  be  swept  into  the  vortex  of  vice  and  dissipation. 

This  theory  of  human  life  your  Lordship  has  not  attempted  to  overturn, 
neither  have  you  denied  its  applicability  to  the  present  condition  of 
Scotland.  But  you  have  attempted  to  place  my  statements  before  the 
public  as  being  untrue,  and  therefore  my  case  against  the  laws  of  Game, 
Entail,  and  Hypothec  would  fall  to  the  ground.  I  must  confess  that  I 
should  have  much  rather  been  attacked  in  my  arguments  than  in  any 
isolated  illustration  thereof,  because  the  general  argument  may  be  per- 
fectly good,  albeit  the  particular  illustration  thereof  may  have  been  in- 
correct. In  a  former  publication  I  had  to  complain  of  this  ;  for  many 
Imsied  themseh  es  with  the  illustration.,  while  they  overlooked  entirely 
the  principle  it  was  intended  to  suppoi-t. 

When  ilhistrating  the  evil  effects  of  our  feudalistic  legislation,  it  was 
barely  ]>os8ible  for  me  to  avoid  pointing  to  certain  estates  where  the  evils 
were  most  apparent.  But  I  certainly  did  so  as  seldom  as  possible,  and  I 
think  in  only  one  instance  have  I  condescended  on  a  personal  reflection. 
Your  Lordship's  name  is  not  mentioned  at  all,  for  although  I  state  that 
Lochtayside  had  been  cleared,  I  did  not  say  bt/  whom  ;  and  had  you  not 
])ublished  the  letter  of  18th  Juno,  your  lordship's  name  and  cliaiacter 
might  have  been  forgotten  altogether  in  connection  with  such  a  deplorable 
state  of  matters.  Pers<mally,  I  entertain  no  grudge  towards  your  Lord- 
ship or  any  other  laird,  but  on  the  contrary  it  might  have  been  beneficial 
to  nie  to  retain  the  good  favour  of  lairds  rather  than  to  excite  their  ill-will. 
But  the  letter  referred  to  leaves  me  only  two  courses, — either  to  support 
the  statements  of  my  book,  or  stand  arraigned  before  the  public  as  guilty 
of  circulating  untruths.  Your  Lordship  has  dragged  our  dispute  j)romi- 
nently  before  tlie  public ;  let  the  ])ublic,  therefore,  be  judge  Ijetween  us. 

I  have  good  right  to  complain  that  your  Lordship's  contradiction  of  my 
statements  are  not  brought  out  in  a  straightforward  manner,  but  that  by 
numerous  shifts  and  fallacies  you  evade  the  facts  altogether.  Considering 
the  high  position  of  your  Lordship,  I  think  you  might  have  condescen<lrd 
to  have  met  such  a  humble  antagonist  as  I  am  oi)enly  and  frankly  ;  ex- 
cuse me,  therefore,  if  I  now  ask  you  to  answer  my  statements  senatiui. 

Ist.  Do  you  «leny  in  general  that  the  Highlands  are  being  depopulated, 
and  that  one  soldier  could  not  now  be  raised  for  ten  who  fought  in  the  lust 
war  1  Your  Ijordship,  I  think,  would  hardly  risk  the  denial  of  a  8tat<^- 
ment  which  every  person  in  this  country  knows  to  be  correct.  I  have 
given  the  public  an  opportunity  of  denying  my  statements  ;  but  so  far  as 
1  can  judge,  my  figures  are  under  rather  than  over  the  mark.     I  can  point 


150 

to  a  place  where  thirty  recruits  that  manned  the  92d  in  Egypt  came  from 
— men  before  whom  Napoleon's  Invincibles  had  to  bite  the  dust, — and 
now  only  two  families  reside  there  altogether.  I  was  lately  informed  by 
a  grazier  that  on  his  farm  a  hundred  swordsmen  could  be  gathered  at  the 
country's  call ;  and  now  there  is  only  himself  and  one  or  two  shepherds. 
On  his  neighbour's  farm  fifty  swordsmen  formerly  lived,  and  it  is  now 
much  in  the  same  condition.  The  Sutherland  and  Gordon  clearings  are 
known  to  the  world,  and  yet  the  fact  of  Highland  depopulation  is  stated 
as  being  inconsistent  with  truth  1  Under  this  head  your  Lordship  had 
ample  opportunity  of  contradicting  my  statements,  but  no  man  with  any 
regard  to  his  standing  could  do  so.  But  if  I  am  labouring  under  a  delu- 
sion here,  I  am  not  alone,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  following  quotation: — 
"  But  in  other  and  in  too  many  instances  the  Highlands  have  been 
drained,  not  of  their  superfluity  of  population,  but  of  the  whole  mass  of 
the  inhabitants,  dispossessed  by  an  unrelenting  avarice,  ivhich  tvill  be  one 
day  found  to  have  been  as  short-sighted  as  it  is  unjust  and  selfish.  Mean- 
time the  Highlands  may  become  the  fairy  ground  for  romance  and 
poetry,  or  the  subject  of  experiment  for  the  professors  of  speculation,  po- 
litical and  economical.  But  if  the  hour  of  need  should  come, — and  it  may 
not  perhaps  be  far  distant, — the  pibroch  may  sound  through  the  deserted 
region,  but  the  summons  will  remain  unanswered." — Sir  Walter  Scott. 
Let  us  hear  what  the  great  continental  historian,  Michelet,  says  : — 
"The  Scotch  Highlanders  will  ere  long  disappear  from  the  face  of  the 
earth ;  the  mountains  are  daily  depopulating ;  the  great  estates  have 
mined  the  land  of  the  Gaul,  as  they  did  ancient  Italy.  The  Highlander 
will  ere  long  exist  only  in  the  romances  of  Walter  Scot  J.  The  tartan 
and  the  claymore  excite  surprise  in  the  streets  of  Edinburgh  :  they  dis- 
appear— they  emigrate — their  national  airs  will  ere  long  be  lost,  as  the 
music  of  the  Eolian  harp  when  the  winds  are  hushed." 

It  is  not  necessary  for  me  to  say  anything  about  the  result  of  this  de- 
population— whether  it  is  desirable  or  not — for  I  am  not  at  present  dis- 
cussing an  abstract  question  in  political  science,  but  the  fact  of  that 
depopulation  going  on  is  notorious  over  all.  In  one  week  oiie  hundred 
most  industrious  emigrants  left  the  district  of  Athole  for  Canada,  while 
sixty  additional  were  preparing  to  remove.  As  the  press  stated,  there 
is  a  general  "move"  of  Highland  population  to  Australia  and  Canada, 
of  their  own  accord  in  many  instances.  ,  The  ousted  farmers  from  Athole 
have  thriven  so  well  in  Canada,  that  the  remaining  friends  are  desirous 
of  sharing  their  prosperity.  Those  who  left  Badenoch  for  Australia  six- 
teen years  ago  have  made  fortunes  rapidly,  and  now  the  people  en  masse 
are  flitting.  Bat  it  is  not  only  in  the  Highlands  this  system  is  at  work  ; 
from  where  I  write  I  see  a  farm  in  the  occupation  of  a  tenant  who  has 
ground  that  formerly  sustained  one  hundred  lowland  Scotch  families, 
and  all  in  peace  and  plenty,  in  contentment  and  happiness.  On  hundreds 
of  places  might  NicoU  sing, — 

"  Ae  aukl  aik  tree,  or  may  be  twa, 

Amang  the  wavin'  corn, 
Is  a'  the  mark  that  time  has  left 
0'  the  toon  where  I  was  born." 


151 

I  have  never  said  that  the  Highlanders  should  he  kept  up  as  a  nursery 
for  soldiers ;  my  only  position  is  this,  do  not  keep  up  nor  jmt  tlieni  clown. 
If  they  cannot  work,  let  them  shift  for  themselves ;  but  if  they  are  beaten, 
it  is  time  for  others  to  look  out.  Although  it  is  not  necessary  to  keep  up 
the  Scottish  peasantry  by  eleemosynary  aid,  yet  does  that  argue  that 
they  should  be  oppressed  as  much  as  possible?  that  they  should  be  ren- 
dered uncomfortable  at  home,  and  their  crops  devoured  through  the  in- 
fluence of  game  laws  1     Surely  not. 

I  say,  that  "any  of  the  peasantry  remaining  do  not  calculate  that  they 
can  obtain  a  home  for  many  years  longer."  Now,  on  Lochtayside,  and 
especially  at  Acharn,  I  certainly  underetood  that  some  thirty  or  forty  ten- 
ants looked  at  Whitsunday  next  as  the  time  when  their  doom  would  be 
fixed.  Certain  ominous  examinations  have  been  seen,  and  whispers  were 
rife  that  the  same  dose  which  their  neighbours  had  been  favoured  with 
was  in  preparation  for  them.  The  besom  of  extermination  had  left  no 
barrier  betwixt  them  and  being  thrown  upon  the  wide  world  for  a  home 
and  the  means  of  life.  To  say  what  your  Lordship's  plans  are  for  the 
ftiture  is  what  T  cannot  do;  but  I  am  perfectly  correct  in  saying  what 
is  "calculated."  On  another  Highland  property,  1  was  aware  at  the 
time  my  book  was  in  the  press  that  extensive  warnings  had  been  given 
for  the  small  tenants  to  leave.  I  am  glad,  however,  to  say,  that  such 
doings  have  been  seen  in  their  true  colours,  and  that  if  any  have  to  leave 
that  property  it  will  be  their  own  fault,  as  I  learn  that  every  reasonable 
encouragement  will  now  be  afibrded  them  to  stay  at  home.  The  question 
was  started  in  high  quarters, — "If  the  people  leave,  who  will  be  got  to 
work  the  lan^*  Well  would  it  be  for  Breadalbane,  and  for  our  country, 
if  your  Lords^)  would  set  yourself  seriously  to  examine  the  same  ques- 
tion. 

In  reference  to  Glnecoe,  your  Lordship  abruptly  answers,  that  it  does 
not,  and  never  did  belong  to  you.  I  never  said  that  it  did.  I  asserted 
that  it  is  "swept"  of  its  inhabitants,  and  perhaps  my  information  is  in- 
correct, but  your  Lordship  has  not  condescended  to  state  whether  it  is  so 
or  not.  If,  however,  my  language  can  bear  any  such  construction  as  that 
your  Lordship  is  proprietor  thereof,  1  willingly  withdraw  any  such  ambi- 

uity,  and  confess  that  my  language  should  not  be  e(iuivocal,  although  at 
•  lie  same  tinie,  I  believe  that  the  less  some  Campbells  say  about  Glencoe 
the  better.  I  have  also  put  the  Black  Mount  among  the  number  of  cleared 
grounds  That  there  were  numerous  tenants  living  there  was  according 
to  my  information.  In  a  region  of  territory  covering  some  200  or  300 
square  miles  of  Scottish  groujul,  the  fact  is,  as  I  have  stated,  viz.  that  it  is 

swept" — not  one  tenant  on  the  whole  ! ! !     Your  Lordship  evades  the 
luestion  by  saying,  that  my  statement  amounts  to  this,  "that  it  was  for- 

iierly  cUmeh/  populated."  I  cei-tainly  was  unable  to  tell  the  number  of 
tiimilies  put  away,  but  your  Lordship  might  have  done  so,  and  there  is 
nothing  to  prevent  tliat  heing  done  yet.  You  tell  us  about  the  reconls  of 
your  family;  your  Lordship  might  have  spared  such  an  allusion.  It  is  a 
painful  one  to  a  Scotchman,  and  particularly  to  a  Highlander.  Tradition 
must  be  far  wide  of  the  truth  if  the  early  history  of  your  family  be  fit  for 


152 

seeing  light  in  the  nineteenth  century.  You  tell  us  that  the  present  pop- 
ulation of  that  district  is  now  as  great  as  the  time  to  which  I  allude.  What 
time,  my  Lord  1 — please  explain  yourself.  You  tell  us  that  it  is  obvious 
that  this  land  could  only  have  been  in  the  hands  of  tenants  for  a  short 
time.  I  certainly  understood  that  it  never  was  a  deer  forest  until  made  so 
by  your  Lordship,  but  I  never  said  so.  The  arguments  used  to  excuse  the 
clearing  system  are  not  a  little  unique.  Thus,  the  Black  Mount  is  cleared, 
having  been  "  but  thinly  peopled";  and  Lochtayside  is  all  but  swept,  be- 
cause it  was  "too  densely  populated."  Some  of  your  Glenquiech  tenants' 
families  were  in  possession  400  years — was  that  the  reason  they  were 
"  swept  1 "  If  not  contradictory,  these  arguments  are,  at  least,  somewhat 
strange;  thus  the  Fens  of  Lincoln  have  only  been  improved  lately, — eir/a 
there  would  be  no  harm  in  converting  them  again  into  marshes.  The 
whole  cultivation  of  America  is  of  comparitively  recent  origin, — ei'go,  it 
would  be  no  harm  for  a  tyrant  to  lay  it  all  waste  !  Then,  you  very  cooly 
tell  us  that  your  shepherds  and  foresters  make  up  as  great  a  population  as 
formerly  resided  there.  But  you  have  forgotten  to  tell  how  many  shep- 
herds you  have  there,  and  it  would  be  naturally  inferred  that  the  Black 
Mount  is  as  well  grazed  as  before.  Now,  allow  me  to  remind  your  Lord- 
ship that  such  an  impression  is  very  far  from  being  borne  out  by  the  facts 
of  the  case,  ther^  being  only  a  veri/  small  part  of  the  Black  Mount  under 
sheep  pasture.  Then,  about  the  foresters,  you  would  think  it  no  harm  in 
having  the  whole  Highlands  under  the  dominion  of  that  excellent  and 
useful  class,  would  you  1  Your  Lordship  must  hold  very  strange  doctrines 
of  political  science,  if  you  estimate  that  game-keepers  and  foresters,  who 
keep  the  country  lying  waste,  who  dissipate  the  national  r^urces,  are  for 
a  moment  to  be  compared  to  the  industrious  peasant,  by  the^veat  of  whose 
brow  human  life  is  sustained,  and  whose  laudable  endeavour  is  to  improve 
land,  not  to  lay  it  waste  !  The  country  would  be  vastly  improved  if  idle 
keepers,  who  are  a  notorious  pest  to  any  district,  were  transformed  into 
respectable  and  industrious  tillers  of  the  ground.  Am  I  not  correct,  then, 
in  saying  that  the  Black  Mount  has  been  swept  of  its  industrious  tenants, 
and  that  only  a  few  shepherds,  (not,  I  believe,  one  tenth  of  what  ought  to 
be)  occupy  their  place  1     But  about  the  Black  Mount  more  anon. 

We  have  now  come  to  Lochtayside  ;  and  if  the  peasantry  be  not  vir- 
tually  "swept"  from  there,  I  shall  make  all  apology  that  maybe  deemed 
meet.  By  a  mere  play  upon  words,  your  Lordship  makes  out  that  it  is 
not  "  swept."  because  some  tenants  remain  there  still ;  and  yet  in  another 
place  we  are  told  it  was  for  good  to  the  people  themselves  that  they  were 
cleared  off,  and,  in  the  same  letter,  it  was  for  the  pi-evention  of  pauperism  ; 
again,  at  the  conclusion,  you  triumphantly  ask,  "  Have  I  recklessly  driven 
out  from  its  mountains  and  glens  the  interesting  and  gallant  race  that 
FORMERLY  dwelt  there  1 " 

In  volunteering  to  correct  the  impression  which  every  one  has,  of  Loch- 
tayside being  virtually  cleared  of  its  peasantry,  I  think  if  your  Lordship 
could  have  proved  that  it  was  not  cleared.,  this  would  have  been  easily 
done  by  a  statement  of  the  number  of  families  there  were  in  1834  and  those 
now  in  1843.     If  my  statement  was  not  worth  answering,  why  meddle 


153 

with  it  1  If  it  was  worth  noticing  why  not  answer  it  in  the  only  manner 
it  could  be  answered,  viz.,  by  an  appeal  to  facts  and  figures  ?  In  a  passing 
allusion  I  think  I  shall  be  borne  out  if,  in  denouncing  the  clearing  system, 
four  out  of  five  families  are  thrust  out.  If  I  had  meant  that  it  was  cleared 
of  ereiy  inhabitant,  I  should  certainly  have  said  *'  totally  cleared ;"  but  I 
adopted  the  everyday  expression  used  whenever  Lochtayside  is  spoken  of, 
both  by  strangers  who  see  the  remains  of  former  houses,  tkc,  and  of 
Breadalbane  men  themselves.  But  lest  your  Lordship's  memory 
should  have  got  rusty  on  this  point,  allow  me  to  remind  you  of  Mornish, 
with  its  twenty-two  families  now  occupied  by  one ;  of  the  Cloichran  with 
eight  or  nine  families,  without  a  tenant  at  all.  In  Acham,  near  Killin, 
there  were  nineteen  families  ;  how  many  now?  if  there  be  one  tenant, 
mention  his  name.  How  many  *'  t^ons"  have  been  cleared  of  four,  ten, 
or  fourteen  families  besides  those  quoted  1  Out  with  it  my  Lord  !  If 
you  have  not  been  actuated  by  a  desire  to  banish  the  people  of  Breadal- 
bane out  of  the  country,  prove  it  by  facts  and  figures,  not  by  roundabout 
statements  entirely  beside  the  point.  It  is  quite  true  that  many  people 
still  live  there  ;  and  if  your  Lordship  thinks  it  anything  to  your  credit 
that  bothy-men  now  usurp  the  place  of  honest  cottagers,  I  am  willing  to 
allow  you  all  the  benefit  of  the  plea,  although,  at  the  same  time,  I  think 
the  bothy  system  is  one  of  the  worst  that  your  Lordship  could  possibly 
l)atronise.  You  can  take  credit  in  the  population  account  for  the  inhabi- 
tants of  your  Lordship's  bothies  at  Newhall,  Comrie-farm,  Balmacnaugh- 
ton,  Auchmore;  and  Acham,  near  Killin. 

And,  lastl^^s  to  the  fencible  men.  You  must  be  aware  that  your  late 
father  raised^jkOO  men  the  last  war,  and  that  1,600  of  that  number  were 
from  the  Breadalbane  estates.  My  statement  is,  that  150  could  wot  now 
be  raised.  Your  Lordship  has  most  carefully  evaded  all  allusion  to  this, — 
perhaps  the  worst  charge  of  the  whole.  From  your  Lordship's  silence  I 
am  surely  justified  in  concluding  tliat  you  may  endeavour  to  evade  the 
question,  but  you  dare  not  attempt  an  open  contradiction.  I  have  often 
made  enquiries  of  Highlanders  on  this  point,  and  the  number  above  stated 
was  tlie  hifjhest  estimate.  Many  who  should  know,  state  to  me  tliat  your 
Lordship  would  not  ^etjifti/  followers  from  the  whole  estates  ;  and  another 
says, — "  Why,  he  would  not  get  half-a-dozen,  and  not  one  of  them  unless 
he  could  not  ]»ossibly  do  otherwi.se."  This,  then,  is  the  position  of  the 
question  :  in  1793-4,  there  was  such  a  numerous,  hardy,  and  industrious 
population  on  the  Breadalbane  estates,  that  there  could  be  spared  of  valo- 
rous defenders  of  their  country  in  her  hour  of  danger 1600 

1 1  ighest  estimate  now 1 50 

Banished  ....  ...   1450 

Per  Contra. 

Game  of  all  sorts  increased  a  hundred  fold. 

In  conclusion,  under  this  head,  can  you  produce  any  thing  farther  in 
confutation  of  the  statements  made  in  my  book  1  if  so,  let  us  have  them. 


154 

Knowing  a  good  many  facts,  I  am  quite  prepared  to  substantiate  all  I  have 
advanced. 

I  am,  my  Lord, 

your  very  obedient  humble  servant, 
July,  1853.  R.  ALISTER. 


LETTER   II. 

To  the  most  noble  the  Marquis  of  Breadalhane. 

*'  My  Lord, — Having  attempted  to  support  the  original  statements 
made  by  me  in  the  volume  before  alluded  to,  I  am  now  at  liberty  to 
examine  some  of  those  adduced  by  you  ;  and  from  the  manner  they  are 
stated,  and  the  semi-official  tone  in  which  they  are  couched,  some  might 
believe  that  I  had  wantonly  undertaken  to  misrepresent  your  Lordship. 
In  my  book  there  was  not  a  single  imputation  thrown  upon  your  Lord- 
ship's character,  but  the  manner  in  which  you  have  endeavoured  to  clear 
yourself  of  blame  (not  then  imputed),  convinced  many  that  you  had  made 
a  personal  application  of  the  general  charges  made  in  my  book. 

In  the  examination  which  I  intend  to  make  of  the  facts  brought  for- 
ward by  your  Lordship,  I  shall  confine  my  observations  to  two  parts, 
viz., — \st.  Destroying  the  resources  of  the  country  for  g£u^.  Ind,  Ex- 
termination of  the  peasantry.  ^^ 

In  the  factorial  accounts  to  which  your  Lordship  refers,  is  there  any 
estimate  of  the  territory  laid  virtually  waste  for  game  sports  ]  The  next 
time  your  Lordship  ojDenly  makes  reference  thereto,  perhaps  you  could 
without  much  trouble,  favour  the  public  by  replies  to  tlie  following 
queries  : — 

How  many  square  miles  of  valuable  pasture  are  kept  waste  for  deer  1 

How  many  sheep  could  annually  be  drawn  from  them,  but  for  the 
deer  ] 

How  many  thousand  black  catfcle  could  be  reared,  but  for  the  same 
cause  ? 

With  moderate  and  judicious  outlays  in  planting,  open  draining,  ikc, 
ttc,  how  much  extra  produce  could  be  brought  into  market?  Would 
the  increase  be  5,  100,  200,  or  300  per  cent?  Opinion  differs  very 
much  about  these  figures. 

Referring  again  to  the  Black  Mount,  perhaps  your  Lordship  would 
favour  the  public  with  its  geographical  boundaries.  I  have  had  great 
difficulty  in  arriving  at  anything  like  a  correct  estimate  of  the  extent  of 
territory  laid  waste.  The  lowest  estimate  of  its  circumference  I  have 
heard  is  fifty  miles,  others  say  sixty,  and  some  as  high  as  ninety  miles. 
Let  us  assume  that  in  its  present  state  there  are  100,000  acres  of  the 
most  valuable  pasture  all  but  useless  to  the  nation  at  present,  but  with 


155 

the  abolition  of  the  Game  Law  Rules  we  might  guess  that  it  could  graze 
70,000  sheep.  One  third  to  one-fourth  of  these  could  be  annually  drawn, 
and  thus  twentt/  thousand  sheep  would  be  yearly  brought  down  for  sale, 
7mnus  some  3,000  at  present.  The  Clas'hgoure  wedders  were  said  to  be 
the  best  ever  seen  in  Glasgow  market.  How  many  does  the  hill  pro- 
duce now  1  Besides  20,000  sheep,  there  might  be  50,000  fleeces  sold, 
in  which  almost  nothing  is  done  at  present. 

If  these  statistics  approximate  the  truth,  would  not  such  an  addition 
to  the  supplies  of  food  to  our  town  population  be  very  valuable  ]  Con- 
sidering the  high  price  of  meat  at  present,  the  great  demand,  the  limited 
supply,  I  am  sure  that  no  more  wholesome  or  beneficial  change  could 
take  place  in  this  country  than  would  the  opening  up  of  the  Highlands 
to  ti-ade.  The  supply  of  black-faced  sheep  and  of  black  cattle  would  be 
increased  beyond  all  conception.  Instead  of  sending  to  the  four  quarters 
of  the  earth  for  food,  why  not  let  Scotland  produce  all  that  it  can  ]  why 
banish  the  industrious  population  when  such  a  field  of  real,  not  repre- 
sentative, wealth  (as  gold  is)  lies  inviting  them  only  to  reap  it  1 

Your  Tx)rdship  states,  that  to  the  improvement  of  the  countrt/  and  to 
the  welfare  of  the  inhabitants  you  have  directed  your  attention  and  your 
best  thoughts.  Without  disputing  your  good  intentions,  allow  me  to  ask 
you  before  Scotland  what  more  could  you  have  done,  by  yourself  or 
your  agents,  to  lay  the  country  waste, — the  Black  Mount  in  particular  ? 
Was  it  for  the  improvement  of  the  country  that  you  have  kept  some  of 
the  finest  soil  of  Perthshire  waste, — that  is,  the  forest  facing  Kenmore  ? 
Is  it  for  the  improvement  of  the  country  that  you  keep  all  the  land  round 
Drummond  I^^  merely  for  sport  at  deer-stalking  ?  Is  it  for  the  encou- 
ragement of  a^culture  that  the  tenants  are  bound  bf/  lease  to  leave  the 
fields  nearest  the  hill  under  grass,  apparently  that  the  game  may  have  a 
morsel  in  winter  ?  Is  it  for  the  public  good  that  your  deer  come  to  the 
gardens  and  destroy  the  cabbage  (some  of  it  having  had  to  be  three  times 
planted  this  year  in  consequence)  1  and  yet  the  tenants  dare  not  scare 
them  away  ;  if  dogs  are  set  after  them  they  are  forthwith  shot ;  if  they 
are  frightened  by  firearms,  the  tenant  is  forthwith  ])ut  off  the  property  ! 
And  yet  this  is  all  done  for  "  the  improvement  of  the  country,"  or  else 
**  for  the  welfare  of  the  inhabitants  I !  " 

Whatever  good  has  accrued  from  the  unexampled  increase  of  game, 
must  l>e  entirely  placed  to  tlie  credit  of  your  Ivordship,  for  your  prede- 
cessor (whose  memory  and  good  deeds  aro  warmly  extolled  by  thousands) 
did  not  favour  the  increase  of  game.  No  doubt  he  ha<l  numbers  of  deer, 
but  they  were  principally  in  ])ark8,  few  or  none  being  wild  ;  and  no 
tenant  was  restricted  from  using  his  gun  (except  in  the  parks)  until  the 
efforts  of  your  Lordship  introduced  a  different  regime.  The  late  Mar- 
quis had  a  greater  respect  for  his  splendid  and  devoted  peasantry  than 
to  harass  them  with  gamekeepers,  or  destroy  their  crops  with  hares  and 
pheasants.  He  wished  them  to  live  in  the  country,  and  therefore  he 
adopted  no  nieasuros  directly  or  indirectly,  to  force  them  away.  There 
are,  however,  certain  doings  about  game  of  which  your  Lordship  must 
be  ignorant,  because  no  nobleman,  professing  such  liberality  as  you  do, 


156 

could  be  a  party  to  such  transactions.  I  refer  to  the  case  of  a  tenant  at 
Acbarn,  who  was  tempted  to  shoot  a  fallow  deer,  which  had  perhaps 
fattened  on  his  own  crops  or  cabbage.  His  servant,  instead  of  going  to 
church  on  Sabbath,  went  to  inform  your  Lordship's  keeper  of  the  oc- 
currence ;  and,  if  I  am  correctly  informed,  that  excellent  man  went 
shortly  after  and  made  a  search  in  the  house.  He  was  like  to  be  foiled 
in  the  pursuit,  when  he  took  off  the  kail-pot,  and  carrying  it  to  the  door, 
found  therein  a  piece  of  venison  !  What  a  horrible  disclosure !  The 
venison  was  forthwith  carried  to  Bolfracks,  and  such  a  hullabaloo  was- 
there  !  And  what  was  the  sentence? — banishment !  Although  strongly 
attached  to  Scotland,  yet  no  remedy  could  be  found  for  the  unpardonable 
crime — off  he  had  to  go.  Now  it  turns  out  this  happened  for  the  man's 
welfare,  for  he  would  hardly  return  to  Breadalbane,  although  made  pro- 
prietor of  his  former  occupancy. 

How  these  200  square  miles,  laid  all  but  desolate,  besides  crops  in 
fields  and  in  gardens  destroyed,  tallies  with  your  Lordship's  loud  profes- 
sions for  agricultural  improvement,  is  what  others  must  explain  for  I 
really  confess  for  once  that  I  am  shamefully  beaten  in  the  attempt  to  do  so. 

I  shall  now  trouble  your  Lordship  with  a  few  inquiries  relative  to  the 
Extermination  of  the  Peasantry.  On  your  Nether  Lome  property, 
you  state  your  belief  that  the  population  is  as  large  as  ever  it  was.  Pre- 
vious to  the  overturn  of  the  Roman  empire,  the  towns  multiplied  ex- 
ceedingly, but  at  the  same  time  the  rural  population  was  totally  swamped. 
Would  your  Lordship  be  good  enough  to  state  whether  or  not  the  Nether 
Lome  in  cleared  of  the  peascmti-i/,  and  the  land  is  now  tenanted  by  south 
coitntry  farmers^  and  if  the  population  to  which  your  Lo^hip  refers  is 
not  that  employed  at  Easdale  slate  quarries'?  W 

In  reference  to  the  removals  from  Lochtayside,  your  Lordship  claims 
great  credit  on  that  account,  alleging  that  pauperism  would  have  produced 
-'disastrous  results  before  this."  Again,  you  claim  great  credit,  liecause 
there  was  no  destitution  in  1846-7.'^  Now,  I  most  flatly  deny  the  insinua- 
tions here  thrown  out  upon  the  peasant  population  ;  and  not  only  so,  but 
I  aver  that  it  is  to  clearing  landlords  like  yourself  §iat  ice  are  indebted 
for  the  great  abundance  of  jmvperisin  ivi  large  towns  \'^  The  deplorable 
destitution  on  the  west  coast  was  in  a  great  measure  occasioned  by  lairds 
thrusting  out  the  population  (which  they  had  previously  done  so  much  to 
;,'j^.:4^yelo.p),  and  huddling  them  together  in  fishing  villages  along  the  coast,  f 
^'  3f  db  not  remember  of  any  peasantry  in  Scotland  being  afflicted  with  the 
f.'"i§Arils  you  name.  On  those  parts  of  the  Breadalbane  property  not  yet 
cleared,  did  any  destitution  prevail  %  Was  there  any  of  it  felt  at  the 
'  'densely  populated  neighbourhood  of  Acharn  1  I  can  point  out  to  numer- 
ous estates,  as  densely  populated  as  ever  Lochtayside  was,  and  in  as  un- 
favourable circumstances,  and  yet  destitution  was  never  dreamt  of.  In 
Athole,  in  Strathtay,  Moulin,  and  many  other  places  that  suggest  them- 
selves to  me,  where  the  holdings  are  almost  all  small,  the  people  never 
were  more  prosperous  than  they  have  been  since  1846. 

*  Fray,  how  could  there  be  pauperism  when  the  people  were  banished  ? 
+  See  **  Theory  of  Human  Progression,"  page  322^  and  also  Parliamentary  Re- 
port of  24th  May  1841. 


157 

Your  Lordship  takes  it  for  granted  that  any  visitor  must  see  a  vast  im- 
provement in  Lochtayside,  dating  from  1 734, — a  statement  which  demands 
proof  ;  for  I  am  informed  on  the  most  unquestionable  authority,  that 
there  is  now  less  produced  to  clothe  and  feed  the  human  race  on  Loclitay- 
side  than  there  was  twenty  years  ago  ;  and  I  fully  believe  it.  Instead  of 
the  improvements  on  the  Breadalbane  estates  keeping  up  with  the  times, 
I  am  strongly  convinced  that  they  have  retrograded  rather  than  advanced 
since  your  Lordship's  succession. 

The  former  condition  of  the  peasantry  seems  to  have  drawn  fortli  an  un- 
merited sneer.  In  reply  to  numerous  inquiries,  the  answers  all  concur  in 
representing  the  peaceful  dwellers  by  the  lake-side  as  peculiarly  social. 
They  lived  without  guile ;  they  assisted  each  other  in  every  respect,  and 
nothing  but  harmony  and  good  feeling  prevailed ;  and  certainly,  if  such 
were  the  case,  it  would  form  a  pleasing  contrast  to  the  bitterness,  rancour, 
and  ill-feeling  that  is  elsewhere  displayed.  We  are  also  told  that  **  the 
physical  condition  was  unfavourably  affected."  Now,  of  all  places  in 
Europe,  I  certainly  understood  that  physical  strength  was  nowhere  better 
developed  than  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  In  Lochtayside  I  have  seen 
some  very  powerful,  hardy,  well-knit  men.  In  particular,  the  most  her- 
culean figure  that  I  ever  remember  to  have  seen  was  one  of  the  individuals 
from  a  croft  on  the  lake-side  !  Although  your  Lordship  has  chosen  to 
blacken  the  Highland  peasantry  to  justify  your  own  doings,  yet  I  shall 
<asily  get  many  who  are  of  a  different  opinion.  The  following  is  the  testi- 
mony of  a  Breadalbane  man  ; — •'  In  my  young  days  the  people  lived 
happy*  and  sociably,  as  well  as  being  healthy  and  comfortable.  There 
was  plenty  of  animal  food,  and  abundance  of  milk.  There  were  few  or 
no  paupers ;  f#  when  a  man  was  worn  out  he  got  a  cow's, haddin,  which 
the  neighbours  ploughed,  sowed,  and  reaped.  Thus  ho  was  kept  off  the 
poor's  box, — a  calamity  they  were  dreadfully  afraid  of." 

Your  Lordship  congratulates  yourself  for  the  great  efforts  made  for  the 
religious  and  educational  wants  being  supplied  better  than  in  any  other 
I)art  of  the  Highlands.  Now,  it  is  unfortunate  that  these  laudible  efforts 
are  so  little  known,  and  the  example  of  such  excellent  endeavours  thereby 

*  I  am  quite  alive  to  the  fact,  that  nothing  is  more  common  among  certain 
\voul(l-he-wi8e  theorist  than  to  sneer  at  the  phase  of  liuman  life  here  allude^  to.      ^  ,. 
Nicoll,  on  the  other  hand,  is  perhaps  too  severe  in  its  favour  : —  ^*\  _       ^<    ^ 

"We  saw  the  com  and  haud  the  plough, —  ^    |r^   v      V 

We  a'  work  for  our  living  ;  ^.     '^to^^^k     t«. 

We  gather  nought  hut  what  we've  sawn,  ^       >.-.•--''      "' 

A'  else  we  reckon  thieving.  <J'll»!/H  ••• 

And  for  the  loon  wha  fears  to  say  q^' 

Ho  comes  o'  lowly  sum'  folk, 
A  wizened  saul  the  creature  has, — 

Disown  him  will  the  puir  folk  !  " 

Those  who  scoff  at  peasant  life  are  often  those  who  hold  the  ludicrous  idea  that  a 
man's  life  consist  in  the  things  of  which  he  is  jHnsetsed  !  To  such  we  say,  in  the 
words  of  the  poet,  "Let  not  ambition  mock  their  humble  toil ; "  for  beyond  all  con- 
troversy the  peasantry  were  possessed  of  a  rare  gem,  —contentment ;  that  which 
Holy  Writ  hath  pronounced  to  b6  better  than  riches  ! 


158 

lost.  As  for  the  educational  superiority,  I  may  safely  state  that  the  aver- 
age amount  of  education,  on  the  best  part  of  the  Breadalbane  estates,  does 
not  nearly  ajiproximate  to  that  of  Logierait  in  your  own  neighbourhood. 

In  my  work  I  have  endeavoured  to  show  that  religion  takes  a  much 
firmer  hold  in  the  cotter  toons  than  in  the  Gallowgates  and  Cannongates 
of  our  large  towns,  and  I  adduced  Burn's  description  of  a  "Cotter's  Satur- 
day Night"  in  proof  of  my  position.  I  fear  that  the  transforming  of 
honest  cottagers  into  hothy  blackguards  has  not  a  salutary  effect ;  and  if 
your  Lordship  desires  the  religious  and  social  amelioration  of  the  Scottish 
peasantry,  I  would  strongly  advise  you  to  abandon  the  bothy  system  in  the 
farms  wrought  by  yourself,  and  lend  a  helping  hand  to  put  down  the 
system  in  Scotland  generally.  Nicoll's  description  of  an  evening  in  a 
Scottish  cottage  would  not  answer  for  bothies  generally  : — 

"  And  when  the  supper-time  was  o'er, 

The  Beuk  was  taen  as  it  shoukl  be, 
And  heaven  had  its  trysted  hour 

Aneath  that  sooty  auld  roof -tree. " 

It  is  quite  possible  that  the  population  on  both  sides  of  the  lake  might 
have  been  too  great,  but  then  there  was  ample  room  for  expanding.  In 
Breadalbane  there  was  no  trade,  although  I  believe  there  is  abundant 
room  for  a  considerable  local  business.  Look  at  Athole  for  instance,  which 
has  not  greater  facilities,  and  yet  many  branches  of  commerce  are  developed 
there.  I  could  point  out  from  personal  experience  how  this  could  be  ac- 
complished, but  it  is  not  wanted, — it  would  keep  too  many  people  in  the 
country,  the  very  rock  which  is  of  all  others  to  be  avoided.  It  consists, 
with  my  knowledge,  that  when  the  Breadalbane  farms  ^re  small,  the 
rents  were  paid  up  to  the  last  farthing,  and  testimony  to  this  effect  will 
not  be  wanting  if  called  for.  Since  the  farms  have  been  made  large,  have 
the  rents  been  equally  well  paid  ?  But  who  caused  the  population  to  ex- 
pand on  Lochtayside  ]  Was  it  not  your  noble  father  ?  Did  he  not  cram 
in  the  men  who  returned  from  the  fencible  regiments  1  This  method  of 
cutting  and  carving  up  human  families, — the  father  increasing,  and  the 
son  sweeping  away, — is  what,  in  my  humble  opinion,  demands  investiga- 
tion. Human  beings  have  acute  feelings,  and  they  should  not  be  removed 
hither  and  thither  to  accomodate  the  caprice  of  an  ill-disposed  laird.  I 
shall  not  inquire  about  the  original  rights  of  the  property  of  the  Campbell 
clan, — I  shall  not  ask  whether  or  not  the  men  whose  swords  acquired  the 
property  had  no  right  to  any  part  of  the  acquired  territory, — I  shall  not 
ask  whether  or  not,  at  a  recent  date,  the  clansmen  did  exercise  their  rights, 
and  caused  their  castle  to  be  built  where  it  now  stands,  yes,  after  the  foun- 
dations of  another  had  been  raised  ground  high.  All  that  I  beseech  and 
pray  for,  on  behalf  of  the  peasantry  is,  that  they  may  be  allowed  to  live  in 
Scotland,  and  that  they  may  be  allowed  to  cultivate  the  land,  paying  full 
rent  for  their  possessions,  and  that  they  shall  not  be  harassed  by  a  wicked 
law,  such  as  the  one  that  protects  game.  Do  I  ask,  or  rather  demand, 
anything  but  what  all  would  openly  admit  was  bare  justice  and  no  favour  *? 

Your  Lordship  states  that  in  reality  there  has  been  no  depopulation  of 


159 

the  district.  This,  and  other  parts  of  your  Lordship's  letter  -would  cer- 
tainly lead  any  ^vho  know  nothing  of  the  facts  to  suppose  that  there  had 
been  no  clearings  on  the  Breadalbane  estates  ;  whereas  it  is  generally  be- 
lieved that  your  Lordship  removed,  since  1834,  no  less  than  500  families ! ! 
Some  may  think  this  a  small  matter  ;  but  I  do  not.  I  think  it  is  a  great 
calamity  for  a  family  to  be  thrown  destitute  of  the  means  of  life,  without 
a  roof  over  their  heads,  and  cast  upon  the  wide  sea  of  an  unfeeling  world. 
In  Glenqueich,  near  Amulree,  some  sixty  families  formerly  lived,  where 
there  are  now  only  four  or  five  ;  and  in  America  there  is  a  glen  inhabited 
by  its  ousted  tenants,  and  called  Glenqueich  still.  Yet  forsooth,  it  is  main- 
tained there  has  been  no  depopulation  here  !*  The  desolations  here  look 
like  the  ruins  of  Irish  cabins,  although  the  population  of  Glenqueich  were 
always  characterized  as  being  remarkably  thrifty,  economical  and  wealthy. 
On  the  braes  of  Taymouth,  at  the  back  of  Drummond  Hill,  and  at  Tul- 
lochyoule,  some  forty  or  fifty  families  formerly  resided  where  there  is  not 
one  now  !  Glenorchy,  by  the  returns  of  1831,  showed  a  population  of 
1806  ;  in  1841,  831  ; — is  there  no  depopulation  there  1  Is  it  true  that  in 
Glenetive  there  were  sixteen  tenants  a  year  or  two  ago,  where  there  is  not 
a  single  one  now  t  Is  it  true,  my  Lord,  that  you  purchased  an  island  on 
the  west  coast,  called  Luing,  where  some  twenty-five  families  lived  at  the 
beginfiing  of  this  year,  but  who  arc  now  cleared  oft' to  make  room  for  one 
tenant,  for  whom  an  extensive  steading  is  now  being  erected  ?  If  my  in- 
formation be  correct,  I  shall  allow  the  ])ublic  to  draw  their  own  conclu- 
sions ;  but,  from  every  thing  that  I  have  heard,  I  believe  that  your 
Lordship  has  done  more  to  exterminate  the  Scottish  peasantry  than  any 
man  now  living  ;  and  perhaps  you  ought  to  be  ranked  next  to  the  Marquis 
of  Staflbrd  in- the  unenviable  clearing  celebrities.  If  I  have  over-estimated 
the  clearances  at  500  families,  please  to  correct  me. 

Now,  my  Lord,  I  did  not  say  how  these  cleJarances  were  affected.  I 
have  been  told  they  have  been  gone  about  in  a  covert  and  most  insidious 
manner,  and  that  a  mock  ceremony  has  been  gone  through  of  oft'ering  the 
people  houses;  but  where  are  there  houses  in  Breadalbane  to  give  them  1 
I  never  heard  of  any  unoccupied  cottages — pray,  where  are  they  1  I  am 
credibly  informed  that  many  have  been  oftered  places  unfit  for  pigs  ;  and 
'some-have  got  the  share  of  a  house,  but  from  which  they  were  shortly 
driven  out,  on  the  shadow  of  a  pretext.  Bnt  granting  that  they  got 
houses,  what  could  the  people  do  ]  could  they  live  on  the  tvind  ?  I  am 
aware  that  your  Lordship  does  give  considerable  employment  to  work- 
peoj)le  ;  but  what  kind  of  wages  do  the  regular  workers  get  ?  They  travel 
some  three,  four,  or  five  miles  to  and  from  work  daily,  and  the  scanty  pit- 
tance they  obtain  is  Is.  2d.  per  diem  in  winter,  and  Is.  4d.  in  summer. 
By  the  time  an  aV>le-bodied  man  pays  house-rent  out  of  that  sum,  and 
keeps  a  family,  he  cannot  hoard  much  money  in  the  banks.  That  the 
condition  of  such  jMJOple  is  greatly  ameliorated  by  depriving  them  of  their 


*  A  atranger,  passing  through  the  glen,  inquired  what  had  become  of  the  people 
whose  houses  Uy  in  ruins,  and  a  man,  apparently  weak  in  iutellcct,  replied,  "  They 
are  out  of  my  sight,  and  I  know  not  where  they  have  gone  !  " 


160 

small  holdings  is  what  might  be  disputed.  If  they  were  not  comfortable 
then,  it  is  at  least  evident  they  are  not  in  the  Garden  of  Eden  now. 

Your  Lordship  states  that  upwards  of  £208,000  have  been  expended 
on  "  useful  works."  Of  course,  a  large  amount  thereof  has  been  recorded 
against  the  future  heirs  of  entail.  But  how  much  of  this  large  sum  has 
been  expended  in  a  manner  that  will  yield  any  benefit  to  the  country  f 
(for  money  expended  for  the  gratification  of  caprice  might  be  as  well 
thrown  into  Loch  Tay.)  I  am  informed  that  the  proportion  is  miserably 
small ;  but  how  much  is  it?  Let  it  be  known  to  a  penny,  so  that  your 
Lordship  may  have  full  justice  rendered  you.  I  may  safely  say  that  the 
peasantry  have  had  very  little  of  it  appropriated  for  the  improvement  of 
their  holdings.  But  after  such  a  display  of  figures,  you  say,  "I  fearlessly 
ask,  am  I  obnoxious  to  the  imputation  of  being  regardless  of  the  prosperity 
of  the  people  upon  the  property .?"  That  you  have  been  blamed  for  being 
utterly  regardless  of  the  people,  is  what  1  have  often  heard,  and  that  you 
cared  not  a  farthing  what  became  of  them,  if  they  are  got  quickly  out  of 
sight ;  and  all  my  informants  agree  to  the  same  assertion  (some  of  them 
using  stronger  language.)*  But  I  am  bound  to  admit  that  one  of  your 
factors  is  blamed  for  much  of  the  mischief  that  has  been  done.  If,  as  it 
is  alleged,  he  boasted  that  he  could  get  a  south  country  farmer  to  rent 
the  whole  ground  between  Drummond  Hill  and  Killin,  it  did  certainly 
reveal  no  kindly  feeling  toward  numerous  families  residing  there. 

You  conclude  your  famous  letter  by  asking,  "Have  I  recklessly  driven 
out  from  its  mountains  and  glens  the  interesting  and  gallant  race  that 
formerly  resided  there  f  I  can  prove  that  the  "interesting  and  gallant 
race"  rather  increased  than  diminished  under  your  father's  management. 
Who,  then  has  driven  them  out  1  I  know  of  no  one  wlio  could  but 
your  Lordship  or  your  agents. 

But  I  cannot  finish  this  long  letter,  without  paying  a  tribute  to  the 
memory  of  the  late  Marquis  of  Breadalbane.  He  was  beloved  by  a 
numerous  and  attached  tenantry,  and  it  may  be  some  consolation  to  his 
descendants  to  know  that  his  memory  is  yet  respected  in  Breadalbane. 
Instead  of  being  feared  by  his  servants,  he  was  greatly  esteemed  by  all  of 
them.  Instead  of  making  loud  professions  abroad  and  acting  the  tyrant 
at  home,  his  practice  always  stood  higher  than  his  professions  of  liberality. 
The  poor  blessed  him  in  the  gate,  and  well  might  they  deplore  his  depar- 
ture; and  yet  he  had  always  plenty  himself;  he  was  no  niggard,  but 
dispensed  a  bounteous  Highland  hospitality ;  yet  he  left  his  estates  free 
of  debt,  besides  leaving  nearly  half  a  million  sterling  to  his  heirs  ! 

I  have  shortly  alluded  to  the  past  and  present  on  the  Breadalbane 
estates,  but  what  shall  be  said  of  the  future ']  Hope,  that  always  expects 
the  best,  whispers  that  present  evils  may  come  to  an  end;  and,  if  report 
speaks  correctly,  promises  to  that  effect  may  yet  be  realised.  The  tenure 
of  entailed  estates  makes  the  possessor  only  a  life-renter  on  them  ;  and  in 

*  Thus,  a  party,  well-known  on  the  Lakeside,  is  reported  to  have  addressed  a 
certain  Marquis,  "  Ay,  my  Lord,  and  you're  to  put  me  out !  are  ye  ?  But  if  I 
was  a  pheasant  cock  or  a  pointer  dog,  /  loould  get  a  house,  and  meat  too." 


161 

the  course  of  nature,  the  Breadalbane  estates  must  some  time  pass  into 
the  possession  of  others,  wlio,  it  is  hoped,  will  act  more  kindly  to  the 
people  remaining  than  your  Lordship  has  done.  But  it  is  hoped  that  they 
will  remain  as  long  in  the  hands  of  the  present  possessor  as  will  enable 
him  to  make  some  reparation  for  the  unexampled  blundera  he  has  com- 
mitted. 

I  could  have  brought  forward  many  more  facts  to  prove  that  the  system- 
atic extermination  of  the  peasantry,  that  is  being  carried  on  all  over 
Scotland,  is  particularly  felt  on  the  Breadalbane  estates ;  but  whether 
pauperism  and  other  claimant  evils  are  occasioned  thereby  is  what  the  pub- 
lic can  determine  ;  but  they  will  widely  differ  from  me  if  they  do  not 
believe  that  the  Gothic  or  feudalistic  legislation  that  fosters  such  enormi- 
ties is  a  great  obstruction  to  our  prosperity  and  happiness  as  a  nation. 
I  am,  my  Lord,  your  Lordship's  very  humble  servant, 

R.  ALISTER. 

July,  1853. 

P.S. — On  same  future  occasion  I  may  trouble  your  Lordship  -with 
some  inquiries  about  the  benefits  conferred  upon  the  Highlands  by 
ABSENTEEISM,  and  ask  some  questions  about  the  legality  of  deer  forests, 
which,  I  believe,  cause  an  annual  loss  to  Scotland  of  100,000  sheep,  and 
10,000  black  cattle.  T  believe  they  occupy  800  square  miles  of  Scottish 
territory.  Why  we  should  spend  so  much  money  and  spill  so  much  blood 
in  Africa  for  the  protection  of  grazings  there,  while  such  tracts  of  count  17 
in  Scotland  are  locked  up  from  industry,  and  all  but  laid  desolate  1 


To  trace  the  scenes  of  desolation,  and  the  extreme  poverty  occasioned 
by  the  clearing  system,  in  the  West  Highlands,  is  more  than  can  be 
expected  in  this  work.  This  was  done  by  abler  men  than  me,  viz.,  Mr. 
Robert  Summers,  Editor  of  the  Glasgow  Daily  Mail^  and  Mr.  Donald 
Ross,  Writer,  Glasgow,  gentlemen  to  whom  the  Highlanders  are  much 
indebted  for  their  disinterested  advocacy  in  behalf  of  the  poor,  and  their 
disclosure  of  the  cruelty  and  ungodly  conduct  of  proprietors.  But  before 
leaving  Perthshire,  permit  me  to  make  some  few  remarks  upon  his  Grace 
of  Atholl.  The  Duke  of  Atholl,  can,  with  propriety,  claim  the  origin  of 
Highland  clearances.  Whatever  merit  the  family  of  Sutherland  and 
Stafford  may  take  to  themselves,  for  the  fire  and  faggot  expulsion  of  the 
people  from  the  Glens  of  Sutfierland,  they  cannot  claim  the  merit  of 
originality.  The  present  Duke  of  Atholl's  Grandfather  cleared  Glen 
Tilt,  (so  far  as  I  can  learn)  in  1784.  This  beautiful  valley  was  occupied 
in  the  same  way  as  other  Highland  valleys;  each  family  possessing  a  piece 
of  arable  land,  while  the  hill-pasture  was  held  in  common.  Tlie  people 
held  a  right  and  full  liberty  to  fish  in  the  Tilt,  an  excellent  salmon  river, 
and  the  pleasure  and  profits  of  the  chase,  in  common  with  their  chief  ; 
but  the  then  Duke  accpiired  a  great  taste  for  deer.  The  people  were  for 
time  immemorial  accustoniod  to  take  their  cattle  in  the  summer  seasons  to 


162 

a  higher  glen,  which  is  watered  by  the   River  Tarfe  ;  but  the  Duke 

appointed  this  Glen  Tarfe  for  a  deer  forest,  and  built  a  high  dyke  at  the 

head  of  Glen  Tilt.     The  people  submitted  to  this  encroachment  on  their 

rights.     The  deer  increased,  and  did  not  pay  much  regard  to  the  march, 

they  would  jump  over   the   dyke,   and   destroy  the  people's  crops ;  the 

people  complained,  and  His  Grace  rejoiced :  and  to  gratify  the  roving 

propensities  of  these  light-footed  animals,  he  added  another  splice  of  some 

thousand  acres  of  the  people's  land  to  the  grazing  grounds  of  his  favorite 

deer.     Gradually  the  deer  forest  extended,  and  the  marks  of  cultivation 

were  effaced,  till  the  last  of  the  brave  Glen  Tilt  men,  who  fought  and  often 

confronted  and  defeated  the  enemies  of  Scotland  and  her  Kings  upon 

many  a  bloody  battle  field,  were  routed  ofi'and  bade  a  final  farewell  to  the 

beautiful  Glen  Tilt,  which  they  and  their  forefathers  for  ages  considered 

their   own  healthy  sweet  home.      An  event  occurred  at  this  period, 

according  to  history,  which  afibrded  a  pretext  to  the  [villain)  Duke  for 

this  heartless  extirpation  of  the  aborigines  of  Glen  Tilt.       Highland 

Chieftains  were  exhibiting  their  patriotism  by  raising  regiments  to  serve 

in  the  American  war  ;  and  the  Duke  of  Atholl  could  not  be  indifierent  in 

such  a  cause.    Great  efibrts  were  made  to  enlist  the  Glen  Tilt  people,  who 

are  still  remembered  in  the  district  as  a  strong  athletic  race.     Perpetual 

possession  of  their  lands,  at  the  then  existing  rents,  was  promised  them, 

if'they  would  only  raise  a  contingent  force  equal  to  a  man  from  each  family. 

Some  consented,  but  the  majority,  with  a  praiseworthy  resolution  not  to 

be  dragged  at  the  tail  of  a  Chief  into  a  war  of  which  they  knew  neither 

the  beginning  nor  the  end,  refused.     The  Duke  flew  into  a  rage ;  and 

press-gangs  were  sent  up  the  Glen  to  carry  off"  the  young  men  by  force. 

One  of  these  companies  seized  a  cripple  tailor,  who  lived  at  the  foot  of 

Beney-gloe,  and  afraid  lest  he  might  carry  intelligence  of  their  approach 

up  the  Glen,  they  bound  him  hand  and  foot,  and  left  liim  lying  on  the 

cold  hill-side,  where  he  contracted  disease,  from  which  he  never  recovered. 

By  impressment  and  violence  the  regiment  was  at  length  raised ;  and 

when  peace  was  proclaimed,  instead  of  restoring  the  soldiers  to  their 

friends  and  their  homes,  the  Duke,  as  if  he  had  been  a  trafficker  in  slaves, 

was  only  prevented  from  selling  them  to  the  East  India  Company  by  the 

rising  mutiny  of  the  regiment !     He  afterwards  pretended  great  offence 

at  the  Glen  Tilt  people,  for  their  obstinacy  in  refusing  to  enlist,  and — it 

may  now  be  added — to  he  sold;   and  their  conduct  in  this  affair,  was 

given  out  as  the  reason  why  he  cleared  them  from  the  glen — an  excuse 

which,  in  the  present  day,  may  increase  our  admiration  of  the  people,  but 

ean  never  palliate  the  heartlessness  of  his  conduct.     His  ireful  policy, 

however  has  taken  full  effect.     The  romantic  Glen  Tilt,  with  its  fertile 

holmes  and  verdant  steeps,  is  little  better  than  a  desert.     The  very  deer 

rarely  visit  it,  and  the  wasted  grass  is  burned  like  heather  at  the  beginning 

of  the  year,  to  make  room  for  the  new  verdure.     On  the  spot  where  I 

found  the  grass  most  luxuriant,  I  traced  the  seats  of  thirty  cottages,  and 

have  no  hesitation  in  saying,  that  under  the  skill,  the  industrious  habits, 

and  the  agricultural  facilities  of  the  present  day,  the  land  once  occupied 

by  the  tenants  of  Glen  Tilt,  is  capable  of  maintaining  a  thousand  people, 


163 

and  leave  a  large  proportion  of  sheep  and  cattle  for  exportation  besides. 
In  the  meantime,  it  serves  no  better  purpose  than  the  occasional  play- 
jround  of  a  Duke. 

"  Proud  Nimrod  first  the  bloody  chase  began, 

A  mij^hty  hunter — and  his  prey  was  man. 

Our  haughty  Norman  boasts  the  barbarous  name, 

And  makes  his  trembling  slaves  the  ro3'^al  game. 

The  fields  are  ravished  from  industrious  swains, 

From  men  their  cities,  and  from  gods  their  fanes. 

In  vain  "kind  seasons  swell  the  teeming  grain, 

Soft  showers  distill'd,  aixd  suns  grow  warm  in  vain; 

'J'he  swain,  w  ith  tears,  his  frustrate  labours  yields, 

And,  famish'd  dies  amidst  the  ripening  fields. 

What  wonder  then  a  beast  or  subject  slain, 

Were  equal  crimes  in  a  despotic  reign? 

Both,  doomed  alike,  for  sportive  tyrants  bled ; 

But,  while  the  subject  starved,  the  beast  was  fed." — Pope. 

The  Parish  of  Atholl  was  at  one  period  a  gigantic  parish;  it  is  traversed, 
from  end  to  end  by  the  Great  Northern  Road,  from  Perth  through  the 
Grampian  Hills  to  Inverness,  formerly  a  favorite  resort  for  tourists 
nnually — the  natural  attraction  of  the  place  being  so  widely  known  for 
its  romantic  scenery.  The  famous  Pass  of  Killicrankie,  ushers  you  from 
the  south  to  the  Plains  of  Atholl,  a  beautiful  level  strip  of  land  stretching 
along  the  north  bank  of  the  River  Garry,  about  three  and  a  half  miles 
long,  and  about  two  miles  broad.  Here  stands  Blair  Castle,  the  Duke's 
seat,  whose  parks  and  pleasure  grounds  takes  up  three-fourths  of  the  whole 
plain.  The  whole  industry  of  this  once  populous  parish,  is  compressed 
into  the  remainder  one-fourth.  This  busy  little  plain  is  the  terminus  of 
half  a  dozen  of  other  great  glens,  which  shoot  amongst  the  Grampians. 
The  renowned  Glen  Tilt  stretches  easterly,  Glen  Bruan  northward,  and 
Glen  Garry  westward.  These  Glens  are  intersected  by  smaller  valleys, 
presenting  varieties  of  aspects,  from  the  most  fertile  carses  to  the  bleak 
moorland.  But  man  durst  not  be  seen  there.  The  image  of  God  is 
forbidden  to  travel  there,  unless  it  is  stamped  upon  the  Duke,  his  foresters, 
and  game-keepers,  that  His  Grace's  deer  may  not  be  annoyed.  In  1800, 
the  population  of  this  parish  was  given  in  at  2,998;  in  1841,  the  popula- 
tion was  given  in  at  2,304,  shewing  a  decrease  of  694.  But  those  better 
acquainted  in  the  parish,  say  that  the  population  does  not  exceed  1,800. 
For  all  these  highland  depopulators  manage  to  keep  up  a  false  population  to 
screen  them  from  the  infamy  they  so  well  merited. 

"Wealth  increases,  and  men  decay." 

Long  since  these  valliant  men  of  Atholl  have  been  expelled  from  the 
Grampian  Nursery.  Still  new  forests  for  deer  are  springing  up  from  east 
to  west;  from  the  neighl>ourhood  of  Alierdeen  to  the  crags  of  Oban,  you 
have  one  continuous  line  of  forests.  In  other  parts  of  the  highlands  they 
can  scarcely  be  numbered.  Such  as  the  Forest  of  Loch  Archaig,  Glen 
Morison,  Glen  Strathfarar,  Dinibh  Moor,  (Sutherlandshiix^) ;  and  many 
more  unpronounceable  names,  which  would  only  weary  the  leader.  In 
short,  whether  the  old  Forests  of  King  Fergus  and  Ceanmore  were  revived, 


164 

or  new  regions  are  brought  within  the  mystic  circle  for  the  first  time^ 
the  same  devastation  precedes  the  completion  of  the  enterprise  ;  houses, 
roads,  enclosures,  cattle,   men,   every   work  of  time  and   progress,   the 
valuable  creation  of  labour,  and  changes  of  centuries,  are  all  extirpated  by 
the  word  of  a  mortal  insignificant  worm  of  the  eairth,  in  order  that  deer, 
blackcock,  and  other  sporting  animals,   more  valuable  than,  men,  may 
enjoy  the  pleasing  solitude  ;  and  that  aristocratic  sportmen  may  monopo- 
lise the  pleasure  and  benefits  of  the  chase.     Yes  my   highland  Scotch 
readers,  but  Britain  is  now  in  need  of  men  to  fight  her  battles,  to  subdue 
her  rebellious  subjects  or  slaved  in  India,  to  invade  and  conquer  China,  to- 
keep  at  bay  Russia,  Persia,  and  many  other  formidable  enemies.    Cringing 
and  making  alliance  with  perjured  Napoleon  and  France,  who  cannot  but 
remember,  and  will  remember,  Waterloo,  and  who  would  rejoice  to  see  her 
glory  departed,  and  her  humbled  in  the  dust.     Look  at  her  squandering  her 
money  away,  hiring  German  paltroons  to  fight  her  battles.     Pawning  her 
revenues  with  Jews,  to  raise  money  to  pay  them,  while  her  own  nursery 
of  the  brave,  irresistable  in  the  battle  field,  who  always  fought  for  glory 
and  honour,  not  for  her  shilling  per  day  ;  who  at  all  times,  and  especially 
in  need,  increased  her  army  and  navy  with  men  by  the  thousands  worthy 
of  the  name — not  with  hired  foreign  cowards,   who  in  most  cases,  da 
more  harm  than  good — but  with  men  who  were  never  known  to  turn  their 
back  to  an  enemy,  but  when  prudence  and  good  discipline  required  it. 
Yes  I  say  this  nursery  is  converted  into  a  howling  desert,  to  afford  amuse- 
ment and  sporting  ground  for  a  number  of  these  aristocratic  locusts,  who 
were,  and  will  continue  to  be,  the  desolating  curse  of  every  land  and 
nation  they  are  allowed  to  breed  in.     This  Royal  Caledonian  Forest  they 
destroyed  by  fire  ;  the  oaks  and  cedars  of  this  Lebanon  have  been  hewn 
down  and  up-rooted.     They  are  (to  my  joy)  taking  firm  root  and  spreading 
fast  in  foreign  climes.     But  the  question  is,  has  Britain  or  their  mother, 
any  claim  upon  their  sympathy  or  assistance  wherever  they  (her  children) 
are  to  be  found.     Let  me  not  say  no,  though  she  deserved  it — I  say  yes. 
However  cruel  she  dealt  with  us,  slie  is  still  our  mother  ;  and  bad  and 
short-sighted  as  she  acted,  she  is  still,  I  hope,  open  to  conviction ;  and 
this  is  the  time  to  convince  her  of  her  folly,  when  she  is  under  the  unerring 
chastising  liocl  of  God,  when  her  sins  have  found  her  out.     And  every  true 
Scotchmen  should  exert  himself,  wherever  he  is,  to  persuade  her  of  her 
past  folly,  and  help  on  her  conviction  and  conversion.     She  has  hearkened 
to  sound  reasoning  in  many  instances  this  some  years  back ;  and  it  is  to 
be  hoped  her  Rulers  will  do  so  yet ;  and  that  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  will 
be  re-peopled,  and  flourish  as  in  the  days  of  yore.     The  people  have  only 
to  demand  it  in  earnest,  and  it  will  be  done  ;  whereas  in  other  nations  the 
people's  demands  are  answered  by  the  cannon.     Let  no  Scotchman,  High- 
land or  Lowlander,  wish  to  see  their  mother  trampled  down  by  Mahomedans, 
Pagans,  Idolators,  and  Despots,  who  erased  liberty  and  freedom  from  their 
vocabularies,  and  even  the  very  word  is  not  found  in  their  nations. 

But  I  am  sorry  that  through  evil  agency  and  maladministration  of 
Highland  proprietors,  sympathy  for  Britain  in  her  late  and  present  trouble 
disappeared  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland ;  a  proof  of  it  is  to  be  seen  in 
the  following  letter  which  I  received  shortly  after  leaving  Scotland  : 


166 

IMy  correspondent  says :  "  MacLeod,  your  predictions  are  making  their 
appearance  at  last,  great  demand  are  here  for  men  to  go  to  Russia,  but 
they  are  not  to  he  found.  It  seems  that  the  Secretary  of  War  has  corres- 
ponded with  all  oui-  Highland  Proprietors,  to  raise  as  many  men  as  they 
could  for  the  Crimean  War,  and  ordered  so  many  officers  of  i*ank  to  the 
Highlands  to  assist  the  proprietoi-s  in  doing  so — but  it  has  been  a  complete 
failure  as  yet.  The  nobles  advertised  by  placards,  meetings  of  thft  people; 
these  j)roclamation8  were  attended  to,  but  when  they  came  to  understand 
what  they  were  about,  in  most  cases  the  recruiting  proprietors  and  staff 
were  saluted  with  the  ominous  cry  of  Maa  !  maa!  boo  !  boo!  imitating 
sheep  and  bullocks,  and,  send  your  deer,  your  roes,  your  rams,  dogs,  shep- 
herds, and  gamekeepers,  to  fight  the  Russians,  they  never  done  us  any 
harm.  The  success  of  his  Grace  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  was  deplorable,. 
I  believe  you  would  have  pitied  the  poor  old  man  had  you  seen  him. 

In  my  last  letter  I  told  you  that  his  head  commissioner,  Mr.  Loch,  and 
military  officer,  was  in  Sutherland  for  the  last  six  weeks,  and  failed 
in  getting  one  man  to  enlist ;  on  getting  this  doleful  tidings  the  Duke 
himself  left  London  for  Sutherland,  he  arrived  at  Dunrobin  about  ten 
days  ago,  and  after  presenting  himself  upon  the  streets  of  Golspie  and 
Brora,  he  called  a  meeting  of  the  male  inhabitants  of  the  parishes  of  Clyne, 
Rogart,  and  Golspie;  the  meeting  was  well  attended,  upwards  of  400  were 
punctual  at  the  hour,  his  Grace  in  his  carriage  with  his  military  staff  and 
factors  appeared  shortly  after,  the  people  gave  them  a  hearty  cheer;  his 
Grace  took  the  chair.  Three  or  four  clerks  took  their  seats  at  the  table, 
and  loosened  down  bulky  packages  of  bank  notes,  and  spread  out  plate- 
fulls  of  glittering  gold.  The  Duke  addressed  the  people  very  serious,  and 
entered  upon  the  necessity  of  going  to  war  with  Russia,  and  the  danger 
of  allowing  the  Czar  to  have  more  power  than  what  he  holds  already, 
of  his  cruel  despotic  reign  in  Ru.ssia,  tkc,  likewi.se  praising  the  Queen  and 
her  government,  rulers  and  nobles  of  Great  Britain,  who  stood  so  much  in 
need  of  men  to  put  and  keep  down  the  Tymnt  Russia,  and  foil  him  in  his 
wicked  schemes  to  take  possession  of  Turkey.  In  concluding  his  address, 
which  was  often  cheered,  he  told  the  young  able-bodied  men  that  his  clerks 
ere  ready  to  take  down  the  names  of  all  those  willing  to  enlist,  and  every 
une  who  would  enlist  in  the  l)3icl  Highlanders  that  the  clerk  would  give 
him,  there  and  then,  £6  sterling,  those  who  would  rather  enter  any 
other  corps  would  get  £3,  all  from  his  own  private  purse,  independent  of 
the  government  bounty ;  after  advancing  many  silly  flattering  decoy ments, 
he  sat  down  to  see  the  result,  but  there  was  no  movementamongthe  people; 
after  sitting  for  a  long  time  looking  at  the  clerks,  and  them  at  him,  at  last 
his  anxious  looks  at  the  people  a^isumed  a  somewhat  indignant  appeamnce, 
when  he  suddenly  rose  up  and  asked  what  was  the  cause  of  their  nou-at- 
tention  to  the  proposals  he  made,  but  no  reply  ;  it  was  the  silence  of  the 
grave — still  standing,  his  Grace  suddenly  asked  the  cause ;  but  no 
reply ;  at  last  an  old  man  leaning  upon  his  staff,  was  observed  moving 
towards  the  Duke,  and  when  he  approached  near  enough,  he  addressed  his 
Grace  something  like  as  follows:  'I  am  sorry  for  the  re8|K>ii8e  your 
Gi-ace's  proposals  are  meeting  here  to-<lay,  so  near  the  spot  where  your 


166 

maternal  mother,  by  giving  forty-eight  hours  notice,  marshalled  fifteen 
hundred  men,  to  pick  out  of  them  the  nine  hundred  she  required,  but 
there  is  a  cause  for  it,  and  a  grievous  cause,  and  as  your  Grace  demands 
to  know  it  I  must  tell  you,  as  I  see  none  else  are  inclined  in  this  assembly 
to  do  it.  Your  Grace's  mother  and  predecessors  applied  to  our  fathers  for 
men  upon  former  occasions,  and  our  fathers  responded  to  their  call,  they 
have  made  liberal  promises  which  neither  them  nor  you  performed  ;  we  are, 
we  think,  a  little  wiser  than  our  fathers,  and  we  estimate  your  promises  of 
to-day  at  the  value  of  theirs,  besides  you  should  bear  in  mind  that  your 
predecessors  and  yourself  expelled  us  in  a  most  cruel  and  unjust  manner 
from  the  land  which  our  fathers  held  in  lien  from  your  family  for  theiV 
sons,  brothers,  cousins,  and  relations,  which  was  handed  over  to  your  parents 
to  keep  up  their  dignity,  and  to  kill  the  Americans,  Turks,  French,  and  the 
Irish ;  and  these  lands  are  devoted  now  to  rear  dumb  brute  animals,  which 
you  and  your  parents  consider  of  far  more  value  than  men.  I  do  assure 
your  Grace  that  it  is  the  prevailing  opinion  in  this  country,  that  should 
the  Czar  of  Kussia  take  possession  of  Dunrobin  Castle  and  of  Stafford 
House  next  term,  that  we  could  not  expect  worse  treatment  at  his  hands 
than  we  have  experienced  at  the  hands  of  your  family  for  the  last  fifty 
years.  Your  parents,  yourself,  and  your  commissioners,  have  desolated 
the  glens  and  straths  of  Sutherland,  where  you  should  find  hundreds,  yea, 
thousands  of  men  to  meet  you  and  respond  cheerfully  to  your  call,  had 
your  parents  and  yourself  kept  faith  with  them.  How  could  your  Grace 
expect  to  find  men  where  they  are  not,  and  the  few  of  them  which  are  to 
be  found  among  the  rubbish  or  ruins  of  the  country,  have  more  sense  than 
to  be  decoyed  by  chaff  to  the  field  of  slaughter ;  but  one  comfort  you  have, 
though  you  cannot  find  men  to  fight,  you  can  supply  those  who  will  tight 
with  plenty  of  mutton,  beef,  and  venison.'  The  Buke  rose  up,  put  on  his 
hat  and  left  the  field." 

Whether  my  correspondent  added  to  the  old  man's  reply  to  his  Grace 
or  not,  I  cannot  say,  one  thing  evident,  it  was  the  very  reply  his  Grace 
deserved. 

I  know  for  a  certainty  this  to  be  the  prevailing  opinion  throughout  the 
whole  Highlands  of  Scotland,  and  who  should  wonder  at  it  ?  How  many 
thousands  of  them  who  served  out  their  21,  22,  25,  and  26  years,  fighting 
for  the  British  aristocracy,  and  on  their  return,  wounded,  maimed,  or 
worn  out,  to  their  own  country,  promising  themselves  to  spend  the  remain- 
der of  their  days  in  peace,  and  enjoying  the  blessings  and  comfort  their 
fathers -enjoyed  among  their  healthy  Highland  delightful  hills,  but  found 
to  their  grief  their  parents  were  expelled  from  the  country  to  make  room 
for  sheep,  deer,  and  game,  the  glens  where  they  were  born  desolate,  and 
the  abodes  which  sheltered  them  at  birth  and  where  they  were  reared  to 
manhood,  burnt  to  the  ground  ;  and  instead  of  meeting  the  cheer,  shaking- 
hands,  hospitality  and  affections  of  fathers,  mothers,  brothers,  sisters,  and 
relations,  met  with  with  a  desolated  glen,  bleating  of  sheep,  barking  of  dogs,, 
and  if  they  should  happen  to  rest  their  worn-out  frame  upon  the  green  sod 
which  has  grown  upon  their  father's  hearth,  and  a  game-keeper,  a  factor, 
or  water  bailiff  to  come  round,  he  would  very  unceremoniously  tell  them 


1G7 

to  absent  themselves  as  smart  as  they  could,  and  not  annoy  the  deer.  No 
race  we  have  on  record  has  suffered  so  much  at  the  hands  of  those  who 
should  be  their  patrons,  and  proved  to  be  so  tenacious  of  i)atriotism  as  the 
Celtic  race,  but  I  assure  you  it  has  found  its  level  now,  and  will  disappear 
altogether  soon,  and  as  soon  as  patriotism  will  disappear  in  any  nation,  so 
sure  that  nation's  glory  is  tarnished,  victories  uncertain,  and  her  greatness 
diminished,  and  decaying  consumptive  death  will  be  the  result.  If  ever 
the  old  adage,  which  says,  *'  Those  whom  the  Gods  determine  to  destroy, 
they  first  deprive  them  of  reason,"  was  verified,  it  was,  and  is,  in  the  case 
of  British  aristocracy,  and  Highland  proprietors  in  particular.  I  am  not 
so  void  of  feeling  as  to  blame  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  his  parents  or  any 
other  Highland  absentee  proprietor  for  all  the  evil  done  in  the  land,  but 
the  evil  was  done  in  their  name  and  under  the  authority  they  have  invested 
in  wicked  cruel  servants.  For  instance,  the  only  silly  man  who  enlisted 
from  among  tlie  great  assembly  his  Grace  addressed,  was  a  married  man 
with  three  of  a  family  and  his  wife;  it  was  genei*ally  belie vl&d  that  Ins  bread 
was  baked  for  life,  but  no  sooner  was  he  away  to  Fort  George  to  join  his 
regiment  than  his  place  of  abode  was  pulled  down,  and  his  wife  and  te^ily 
turned  out,  and  only  permitted  to  live  in  a  hut,  from  whicli  an  old  Kniale 
pauper  was  carried  a  few  days  before  to  the  church-yard;'  there  the  young 
family  were  sheltered,  and  their  names  registered  uponj^irf^  pot>r  roll  for 
support;  his  Grace  could  not  be  guilty  of  such  low.^toamy  as  this,  yet  he 
was  told  of  it,  but  took  no  cognizance  of  those  who  did  it  in  his  name.  It 
is  likewise  said  tliat  this  man  got  a  furlough  of  two  we^ji,  tcTsee  his  wife 
and  family  before  going  abroad,  and  that  the  factor  hejffd  he  was  coming 
and  ordered  the  ground  officer  of  the  parish  of  Ep^rt,  of  the  name  of 
M*Leod,  to  watch  the  soldier,  and  not  allow  him  ro  see  nor  speak  to  his 
wife,  but  in  his,  the  officer's  pre.sence.  This  was  cruelty  to  prevent  the 
l)Oor  fellow  who  was  three  months  absent  from  his  wife,  and  could  not  be 
allowed  to  kiss,  or  have  one  night's  pleasure  with  herbefore  he  would  embark 
for  the  Crimea,  but  in  presence  of  an  officer.  None  could  think  his  Grace 
to  be  80  devoid  of  natural  feelings,  yet  it  was  done  in  his  name.  The 
factor  alleged  as  an  (!xcuse  for  it,  that  lie  did  not  want  the  parish  of 
Uogart  to  be  burdened  with  any  more  children  to  keep  up.  Economf/f 
ICcoHomj/I!  We  have  then  in  the  same  parish  an  old  bachelor  of  the 
name  of  John  Macdonald,  who  had  three  idiot  sisters,  whom^he  ui)held 
independent  of  any  source  of  relief,  but  a  favorite  of  George,  the  notorious 
factor,  envied  this  poor  bachelor's  farm,  and  he  was  summoned  to  remove 
at  next  term.  The  poor  fellow  petitioned  his  Grace,  and  Loch,  but  to  no 
purpose,  he  was  doomed  to  walk  away,  on  the  term  day  as  the  factor 
told  him,  "to  America,  Glasgow,  or  to  the  devil  if  he  choosed."  Seeing 
he  bad  no  other  alternative,  two  days  before  the  day  of  his  removal  he 
yoked  his  cart,  and  got  neighbours  to  help  him  to  haul  the  three  idiots  into 
it,  and  drove  away  with  them  to  Dunrobin  Castle;  when  lie  came  up  to 
factor  Gunn's  door  hc^  capsized  them  out  upon  the  green,  and  ^'heeled 
about  and  went  away  home,  the  three  idiots  finding  themselves  upon  the  top 
of  one  another  so  sudden,  they  raised  an  inhuman-like  yell,  and  fixed  into 
one  another  to  fight,  and  scratched,  yelled,  and  screeched  so  terrific  tliat 


168 

Mr.  Gunn,  his  lady,  his  daughters,  and  all  the  clerks  and  servants,  were 
soon  about  them,  but  they  hearkened  to  no  reason,  for  the}^  had  none  them- 
selves, but  continued  their  lighting  and  inharmonious  music;  messenger 
after  messenger  was  sent  after  John,  but  of  no  use;  at  last  tlie  great  Gunn 
himself  followed  and  overtook  him,  asked  him  how  did  he  come  to  leave 
his  sisters  in  such  a  state?  He  replied.  "  I  kept  them  while  I  had  a  piece 
of  land  to  support  them,  you  have  taken  that  land  from  me,  then  take 
them  along  with  the  land,  and  make  of  them  what  you  can,  I  must  look 
out  for  myself,  but  I  cannot  carry  them  to  the  labour  market."  Gunn 
was  in  a  fix,  and  had  to  give  John  assurance  that  he  would  not  be  removed 
if  he  would  take  his  sisters,  so  John  took  them  home,  and  has  not  been 
molested  as  yet. 

I  have  here  beside  me  a  respectable  girl  of  the  name  of  Ann  jNIurray, 
whose  father  was  removed  during  the  time  of  the  wholesale  /^vr/yo^  removal 
but  got  a  lot  of  a  barren  moor  to  cultivate ;  however  barren  like  it  was,  he 
was  raising  a  family  of  industrious  young  sons,  and  by  dint  of  hard  labour 
and  perseverence,  they  made  it  a  comfortable  home,  but  th^young  sons 
one  by  one  left  the  country,  (and  four  of  them  are  within  two  miles  of 
where  I  sit),  the  result  was,  that  Ann  was  the  only  one  who  remained 
with  the  parents.  The  mother  who  had  an  attack  of  palsy,  was  left 
entirely  under  Ann's  care  after  the  family  left;  and  she  took  it  so  much  to 
heart  that  her  daughter's  attention  was  required  day  and  night,  until 
death  put  an  end  tA  her  afflictions,  after  twelve  years'  suffering.  Shortly 
after  the  mother's  death,  the  father  took  ill,  and  was  confined  to  bed  for 
nine  months ;  and  Ann's  labour  re-commenced  until  his  decease.  Though 
Ann  Murray  could  be 'numbered  among  the  most  dutiful  of  daughters 
yet  her  incessant  labour  for  a  period  of  more  than  thirteen  years,  made 
visible  inroads  upon  her  tender  constitution;  yet  by  the  liberal  assistance 
of  her  brothers,  who  did  not  lose  sight  of  her  and  their  parent,  (though 
upon  a  foreign  strand)  Ann  Murray  kept  the  farm  in  the  best  of  order, 
no  doubt  expecting  that  she  would  be  allowed  to  keep  it  after  her  parent's 
decease  ;  but  this  was  not  in  store  for  her,  the  very  day  after  her  father's 
funeral,  the  officer  came  to  her,  and  told  her  that  she  was  to  be  removed 
in  a  few  weeks,  that  the  farm  was  let  to  another,  and  that  Factor  Gunn 
wished  to  see  her.  She  was  at  that  time  afflicted  with  jaundice,  and  told 
the  officer  that  she  could  not  undertake  the  journey,  which  was  only  ten 
miles.  Next  day  the  officer  was  at  her  again,  more  urgent  than  before,  and 
made  use  of  extraordinary  threats  ;  so  she  had  to  go.  When  she  appeared 
before  this  Bashaw,  he  swore  like  a  trooper,  and  damned  her  soul,  why 
she  disobeyed  his  first  summons;  she  excused  herself  trembling,  that  she 
was  unwell;  another  volley  of  oaths  and  threats  met  her  response,  and  told 
her  to  remove  herself  from  the  estate  next  week,  for  her  conduct ;  and 
with  a  threat,  which  well  becomes  a  Highland  tyrant,  not  to  take  away  nor 
sell  a  single  article  of  furniture,  implements  of  husbandry,  cattle,  or  crop; 
nothing  was  allowed  but  her  own  body  clothes:  that  every  thing  was  to  be 
handed  over  to  her  brother,  who  was  to  have  the  farm.  Seeing  there  was 
neither  mercy  nor  justice  for  her,  she  told  him  the  crop,  house,  and  every 
other   thing   belonging  to   the  farm,  belonged  to  her  and  brothers  in 


169 

America,  and  that  the  brother  to  whom  he  (the  factor)  intended  to  hand 
over  the  farm  and  effects,  never  lielped  her  father  or  motlier  while  in 
trouble  ;  and  that  she  was  determined  that  he  should  not  enjoy  what  she 
laboured  for,  and  what  her  other  brother's  money  paid  for.  She  went  and 
got  the  advice  of  a  man  of  business,  advertised  a  sale,  and  sold  off  in  the 
face  of  tlneats  of  interdict,  and  came  to  Canada,  where  she  was  warmly 
received  by  brothers,  sistei*s,  and  friends,  now  in  Woodstock,  and  can  tell 
her  tale  better  than  I  can.  No  one  could  think  nor  believe  that  his 
Grace  would  even  countenance  such  doings  as  these  •  but  it  was  done  in 
his  name. 

I  have  here  within  ten  miles  of  me,  Mr.  William  Ross,  once  Taxman  of 
Achtomeleeny,  Sutherlandshire,  who  occupied  the  most  convenient  farm 
to  the  principal  deer-stalking  hills  in  the  county.  Often  have  the  English 
and  Irish  lords,  connected  in  marriage  with  the  Sutherlands,  dined  and  took 
their  lunch  at  William  Ross'  table,  and  at  his  expense  ;  and  more  than 
once  passed  the  night  under  his  roof.  Mr.  Ross  being  so  well  acquainted 
iimongthe  mountainsand  hauntsofthedeer,wasoften  engaged  asaguide  and 
instructor  to'these  noblemen,  on  their  deer-stalking  and  fishing  excursions, 
and  became  a  real  favorite  with  the  Sutherland  family,  which  enabled  him, 
to  erect  superior  buildings  to  the  common  rule,  and  improve  his  farm  in  a 
superior  style  ;  so  that  his  mountain-side  farm  was  nothing  short  of  a 
Highland  paradise.  But  unfortunately  for  William,  his  nearest  neighbour, 
one  Major  Gilchrist,  a  sheep  farmer,  (Ahah)  coveted  Mr.  Ross's  vine- 
yard, and  tried  many  underhand  schemes  to  secure  the  place  for  himself, 
but  in  vain.  Ross  would  hearken  to  none  of  his  proposals.  But  Ahab 
was  a  chief  friend  of  Factor  Gunn  ;  and  William  Ross  got  notice  of 
removal.  Ross  prepared  a  Memorial  to  the  first  and  late  Duchess  of 
Sutherland,  and  placed  it  in  her  own  hand.  Her  Grace  read  it,  and 
instantly  went  in  to  the  Factor's  office,  and  told  him  that  William  Ross 
was  not  to  be  removed  from  Achtomeleeny  while  he  lived  ;  and  wrote  the 
same  on  the  petition,  and  handed  it  back  to  Ross,  with  a  graceful  smile, 
saying,  "you  are  now  out  of  the  reach  of  Factors;  now,  William,  go  home 
in  peace."  William  bowed,  and  departed  cheerfully;  but  the  Factor  and 
Ground  Officer  followed  close  behind  him,  and  while  Ross  was  reading 
Her  Grace's  deli  veranee  the  officer,  David  Ross,  came  and  snapped  the  pa|>er 
out  of  his  hand  and  ran  to  Factor  Gunn  with  it ;  Ross  followed,  but  (Junn 
put  it  in  his  pocket  saying,  **  William,  you  would  need  to  give  it  to  me  after- 
wards at  any  rate,  and  1  will  keep  it  till  I  read  it,  and  then  return  it  to 
you,"  and  with  a  tiger-like  smile  on  his  face  said,  "I  believe  you  came 
speed  to-day,  an<l  I  am  glad  of  it  ;"  but  William  never  got  it  in  his  hand 
again.  However,  he  was  not  molested  during  Her  Grace's  life.  Next 
year  she  paid  a  visit  to  Dunrobin,  when  factor  Wm.  Gunn  advised  Ross  to 
apply  to  her  for  a  reduction  of  rent,  (under  the  mask  of  favouring  him.) 
He  did  so,  and  it  was  granted  cheerfully.  Her  Grace  left  Dunrobin  this 
year  never  to  return  ;  in  the  beginning  of  the  next  Spring  she  was  carrie<l 
back  to  Dunrobin  a  corpse,  and  a  few  daysaftersho  was  interred  in  Dornoch, 
William  Ross  was  served  with  a  Summons  of  Removal  from  Achtomeleeny, 
and  he  had  nothing  to  shew.     He  petitioned  the  present  Duke  and  his 


170 

CoDimissioner,  Mr.  Loch,  and  related  the  whole  circumstance  to  them,  but 
to  no  avail,  only  he  was  told  that  factor  Gunn  was  ordered  to  give  him 
some  other  lot  of  land,  which  he  did;  and  having  no  other  resource  Wil- 
liam accepted  of  it  to  his  loss;  for  between  loss  of  cattle,  building  and 
repairing  houses,  he  was  minus  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  sterling 
of  his  means  and  substance,  from  the  time  he  was  removed  from  Achtome- 
leeny  till  he  removed  himself  to  Canada.  Besides  he  had  a  written 
agreement  or  promise  for  melioration  or  valuation  for  all  the  farm  improve- 
ments and  house  building  at  Achtomeleeny,  which  was  valued  by  the  family 
surveyor  at  £250.  ^A'illiam  was  always  promised  to  get  it,  until  they 
came  to  learn  that  he  was  leaving  for  America,  then  they  would  not  give 
a  cent  of  it.  William  Ross  left  them  with  it  to  join  his  family  in  Canada  ; 
but  he  can  in  his  old  age  sit  at  as  comfortable  a  table,  and  sleep  on  as 
comfortable  a  bed,  with  greater  ease  of  mind  and  a  clearer  conscience, 
among  his  own  dutiful  and  affectionate  children,  than  the  tyrant  Factor 
ever  did  or  ever  will  among  his.  I  know  as  well  as  any  one  can  tell  me 
that  this  is  but  one  or  two  cases  out  of  the  thousand  I  could  enumerate, 
where  the  liberality  and  benevolence  of  His  Grace,  and  of  his  parents, 
wefre  abused,  and  that  to  their  patron's  loss.  You  see  in  the  above  case, 
that  William  was  advised  to  plead  for  a  reduction  of  rent,  so  that  the  Fac- 
tor's favourite,  Ahab  Gilchrist,  would  have  the  benefit  of  Naboth  Ross' 
improvement,  and  the  reduction  he  got  on  his  rent,  which  would  not  be 
obtained  otherwise.  The  long  and  the  short  of  it  is,  that  the  unhallowed 
crew  of  factors  and  officials,  from  the  highest  to  the  lowest  grade  of  them 
employed  by  the  family  of  Sutherland  for  the  last  54  years,  were  so  well 
qualified  in  rascality  that  they  in  their  combination,could  rob  both  proprietor 
and  people.  They  got  the  corrupt  portion  of  the  public  press  on  their 
side,  to  applaud  their  wicked  doings  and  robbing  schemes,  as  the  only 
mode  of  improvement  and  civilization  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  They 
have  got  what  is  still  more  to  be  lamented,  all  the  established  ministers, 
with  few  exceptions,  on  their  side;  and  in  them  they  found  faithful  aux- 
iliaries in  crushing  the  people.  Any  of  them  could  hold  a  whole 
congregation  by  the  hair  of  their  heads  over  hell-fire,  if  they  offered 
to  resist  the  powers  that  be,  until  they  submitted.  If  a  single  in- 
dividual resisted,  he  was  denounced  from  the  pulj)it,  and  considered 
afterwards  a  dangerous  mati  in  the  community;  and  he  might  depart 
as  quick  as  he  could.  Any  man,  or  men,  may  violate  the  laws  of 
God,  and  violate  the  laws  of  heaven  as  often  as  he  chooses ;  he  is 
never  heeded,  and  has  nothing  to  fear,  but  if  he  offends  the 
Duke's  Factor,  the  lowest  of  his  minions,  or  violates  the  least  of  their 
laws  and  regulations  it  is  an  unpardonable  sin.  The  present  Duke's 
mother,  was  no  doubt  a  liberal  lady  of  many  good  parts,  and  seemed  to  be 
much  attached  to  the  natives,  but  unfortunately  for  them,  she  employed 
for  her  factors  a  vile,  unprincipled  crew,  who  were  their  avowed  enemies; 
she  would  hearken  to  the  complaints  of  the  people,  and  would  write  to  the 
ministers  of  the  Gospel  to  ascertain  the  correctness  of  complaints,  and  the 
factor  was  justified,  however  gross  the  outrage  was  that  he  committed — the 
minister  dined  with  the  factor  and  could  not  refuse  to  favour  him.     The 


171 

present  Duke  is  a  simple,  if  not  a  silly,  narrow  minded  gentleman,  who 
concerns  himself  very  little,  ahout  even  his  own  pecuniary  affairs  ;  he 
entrusts  his  whole  affairs  to  this  set  of  vile,  cunning  knaves,  called  factors, 
and  the  people  are  enslaved  so  much  that  it  is  now  considered  the  most 
foolish  thing  a  man  can  do  to  petition  his  Grace,  whatever  is  done  to 
him,  for  it  will  go  hard  with  the  factor,  or  he  will  punish  and  make  an 
example  of  him  to  deter  others. 

To  detail  what  I  knew  myself  personally,  and  what  I  have  learnt  from 
others  of  their  petty  roguery  and  robbery,  it  would,  as  I  said  before,  fill  a 
volume.  For  another  instance  : — When  a  marriage  in  the  fauiily  of 
Sutherland  takes  place,  or  the  birth  of  an  heir,  a  feast  is  ordered  for  the 
Sutherland  people,  consisting  of  whiskey,  porter,  ale,  and  plenty  of  eata- 
bles. The  day  of  feasting  and  rejoicing  is  appointed,  and  heralded  through- 
out the  country,  and  the  people  are  enjoined  in  marshal  terms  to  assemble 
— barrels  of  raw  adulterated  whiskey  are  forwarded  to  each  parish,  and 
some  raw  adulterated  sugar,  and  that  is  all.  Bonfires  are  to  be  prepared 
upon  the  tops  of  the  highest  mountains.  The  poorest  of  the  poor  are 
warned  by  family  officers  to  carry  the  materials  consisting  of  peats  and  tar 
barrels,  upon  their  backs ;  the  scene  is  lamentable  to  see  groups  of  the*^e 
wretched,  half  clad  and  ill-shod,  climbing  up  these  mountains  with  their 
loads ;  however,  the  work  must  be  done,  there  is  no  denial,  and  the  evening 
of  rejoicing  arrived,  and  the  people  are  assembled  at  their  different 
Clachans  ;  the  barrels  of  whiskey  are  taken  out  to  tlie  field,  and  are  poured 
into  large  tubs,  and  a  good  amount  of  abomniable-looking  sugar  is  mixed 
with  it,  and  a  sturdy  favourite  is  employed  to  stir  it  about  with  a  flail 
handle,  or  some  long  cudgel — all  sorts  of  drinking  implements  are 
produced,  sucli  as  tumblers,  bowls,  ladles,  and  tin  jugs.  Bagpipers 
are  set  up  with  great  glee.  In  the  absence  of  the  factor,  the  animal 
called  the  ground  officer,  and  in  some  instances  the  Parish  Minister  will 
open  the  jolification,  and  show  an  example  to  the  people  how  to  deal  with 
this  coarse  beverage ;  after  the  first  round  the  respectable  portion  of  the 
people  will  depart,  or  retire  to  an  inn,  where  they  could  enjoy  themselves  ; 
but  the  droutliies,  and  ignorant  youthful,  will  keep  the  field  of  revelling 
until  tearing  of  clothes  and  faces  come  to  be  the  rule  ;  fists  and  cudgels 
supplant  jugs  and  ladles,  and  this  will  continue  until  king  Bacchus  enters 
the  field  and  hushes  the  most  heroic  brawlers,  and  the  most  ferocious  com- 
batants to  sound  snoring  on  the  field  of  rejoicing,  where  many  of  them 
enters  into  contracts  with  death,  from  which  they  never  could  extricate 
themselves.  With  the  co-oj^emtion  and  assistance  of  factors,  ministers,  and 
editors,  a  most  flourishing  account  is  sent  to  the  world,  and  to  the  absentee 
family  in  London,  who  knows  nothing  al>out  how  the  aflair  was  conducted. 
The  world  will  say  how  happy  must  the  people  be  who  live  under  such 
good  and  noble  liberal  minded  patrons,  and  the  patrons  themselves  are  so 
highly  pleased  with  the  re|)ort,  that  however  extraordinary  the  bill  that 
comes  to  them  on  the  rent  day,  in  place  of  money,  for  roast  beef  and  mut- 
ton, bread  and  cheese,  London  porter,  and  Edinburgh  ale,  which  was 
never  bought  nor  tasted  by  the  people,  I  say  they  consider  their  commis- 
sioners used  great  economy  ;  no  cognizance  are  taken,  the  bill  is  accepted 


172 

and  discharged,  the  people  are  deceived  and  the  proprietors  robbed,  and 
the  factors  divide  the  spoil,  which  is  not  a  trifle ;  no  wonder  that  the  Duke 
■of  Sutherland  receives  so  little  rent  from  his  Sutherland  Estates.  Were  it 
not  for  the  many  channels  of  wealth  pouring  in  upon  him  he  would  be 
bankrupt  long  ago ;  but  all  these  robberies  of  his  Grace  will  no  doubt 
be  among  the  items  which  makes  up  the  £60,000  sent  down  to  save  the 
people  from  dying  by  famine,  as  Loch  says ;  but  I  will  leave  the  Duke 
and  his  factors  to  settle  their  own  accounts  ;  one  thing  is  evident,  his  fac- 
tors and  commissioners  have  disgraced  him,  and  left  a  stain  of  immortal 
dye  upon  him  and  the  family  of  Sutherland,  that  time  and  revolution  of 
yeai's  will  not  wipe  away. 

Let  me  now  conclude  by  taking  a  few  extracts  from  other  authors  who 
wrote  faithfully  and  without  any  hostile  feeling  towards  his  Grace,  or  his 
family,  nor  any  other  Highland  proprietor  who  followed  the  AthoU  and 
Sutherland  clearing  example.  The  first  of  these  extracts  is  from  the 
l)en  of  that  noble  minded  Scotchman,  General  Stuart,  of  Garth,  who 
wrote  largely  upon  the  clearing  system  : — 

"It  is  painful  to  dwell  on  this  suVrject"  [the  present  state  of  Suther- 
land] ;  **butas  information  communicated  by  men  of  honour,  judgment, 
a,nd  perfect  veracity,  descriptive  of  what  they  daily  witness,  affords  the 
best  means  of  forming  a  correct  j  udgement,  and  as  these  gentlemen,  from 
their  situations  in  life,  have  no  immediate  interest  in  the  determination  of 
the  question,  beyond  what  is  dictated  by  humanity  and  a  love  of  truth, 
their  authority  may  be  considered  as  undoubted." — General  Stewart  of 
Garth, 

"  It  is  by  a  eruel  abuse  of  legal  forms, — it  is  by  an  unjust  usurpation, 
— that  the  tacksman  and  the  tenant  of  Sutherland  are  considered  as  having 
no  right  to  the  land  which  they  have  occupied  for  so  many  ages.  *  *  A 
Count  or  Earl  has  no  more  right  to  expel  from  their  homes  the  inhabitants 
of  his  county,  than  a  King  to  expel  from  his  country  the  inhabitants  of 
his  kingdom." — Sismondi. 

THE    BELOVED    AND    GREAT     HUGH     MILLER     ON    SUTHERLAND    AS    IT 

WAS    AND    IS. 

"  There  appeared  at  Paris,  about  five  years  ago,  a  singularly  ingenious 
work  on  political  economy,  from  the  pen  of  the  late  M.  de  Sismondi,  a 
writer  of  European  reputation.  The  greater  part  of  the  first  volume  is 
taken  up  with  discussions  on  territorial  wealth,  and  the  condition  of  the 
cultivators  of  the  soil ;  and  in  this  portion  of  the  work  there  is  a  promi- 
nent place  assigned  to  a  subject  which  perhaps  few  Scotch  readers  would 
«xpect  to  see  introduced  through  the  medium  of  a  foreign  tongue  to  the 
people  of  a  great  Continental  State.  We  find  this  philosophic  writer, 
whose  works  are  known  far  beyond  the  limits  of  his  language,  devoting 
an  entire  essay  to  the  case  of  the  late  Duchess  of  Sutherland  and  her 
tenants,  and  forming  a  judgement  on  it  very  unlike  the  decision  of  political 
economists  in  our  own  country,  who  have  not  hesitated  to  characterize  her 
great  and  singularly  harsh  experiment,  whose  worst  effects  we  are  but 


173 

beginning  to  see,  as  at  once  justifiable  in  itself  and  happy  in  its  results. 
It  is  curious  to  observe  how  deeds  done  as  if  in  darkness,  or  in  a  comer,  are 
beginning,  after  the  lapse  of  nearly  thirty  years,  to  be  proclaimed  on  the 
house-tops.  The  experiment  of  the  late  Duchess  was  not  intended  to  be 
made  in  the  eye  of  Kuiope.  Its  details  would  ill  bear  the  exposure. 
When  Cobbett  simply  referred  to  it  only  ten  years  ago,  the  noble  proprie 
trix  was  startled,  as  if  a  rather  delicate  family  secret  was  on  the  eve  of 
being  divulged  ;  and  yet  nothing  seems  more  evident  now  than  that  civi- 
lized man  all  over  the  world  is  to  be  made  aware  of  how  the  experiment 
was  accomplished,  and  what  it  is  ultimately  to  produce.  It  must  be  obvi- 
ous, further,  that  the  infatuation  of  tl!e  present  proprietor,  in  virtually 
setting  aside  the  Toleration  Act  on  his  property,  must  have  the  etiect  of 
spreading  the  knowledge  of  it  all  the  more  widely,  and  of  rendering  its 
results  much  more  disastrous  than  they  could  have  possibly  been  of  them- 
selves. 

In  a  time  of  quiet  and  good  order,  when  law,  whether  in  the  right  or 
the  wrong,  is  all-potent  in  enforcing  its  findings,  the  argument  which  the 
philosophic  Frenchmen  employs  in  behalf  of  the  ejected  tenantry  of 
Sutherland,  is  an  argument  at  which  proprietors  may  afford  to  smile.  In 
a  time  of  revolution,  however,  when  lands  change  their  owners,  and  old 
families  give  place  to  new  ones,  it  might  be  found  somewhat  formidable, 
— sufficiently  so,  at  least,  to  lead  a  wise  i)roprietor  in  an  unsettled  age 
rather  to  conciliate  than  oppress  and  irritate  the  class  who  would  be  able 
in  such  circumstances  to  urge  it  with  most  effect.  It  is  not  easy  doing 
justice  in  a  few  sentences  to  the  facts  and  reasonings  of  an  elaborate  essay  : 
but  the  line  of  the  argument  runs  somewhat  thus  : — 

Under  the  old  Celtic  tenures, — the  only  tenures,  be  it  remembered, 
through  which  the  Lords  of  Sutherland  derive  their  rights  to  their  lands, 
— the  Clann,  or  children  of  the  soil,  were  the  proprietors  of  the  soil  ; — 
*' the  whole  of  Sutherland,"  says  Sismondi,  belonged  to  "the  men  of 
Sutherland."  Their  chief  was  their  monarch,  and  a  very  absolute  mon- 
arch he  was.  *'  He  gave  the  different  tacks  of  land  to  his  officers  or  took 
them  away  from  them,  according  as  they  showed  themselves  more  or  less 
useful  in  war.  But  though  he  could  thus,  in  a  military  sense,  reward  or 
punish  the  clan,  he  could  not  diminish  in  the  least  the  property  of  the 
clan  itself  ;" — he  was  a  chief,  not  a  proprietor,  and  had  "  no  more  right 
to  expel  from  their  homes  the  inhabitants  of  his  county,  than  a  king  to 
expel  from  his  country  the  inhabitants  of  his  kingdom."  "  Now,  the 
Gaelic  tenant,"  continues  the  Frenchman,  "  has  never  been  conquered  ; 
nor  did  he  forfeit,  on  any  after  occasion,  the  rights  which  he  originally 
possessed  ;" — in  point  of  right,  he  is  still  a  co-proprietor  with  liis  captain. 
To  a  Scotchman  acquainted  with  the  law  of  property  as  it  has  existed 
among  us,  in  even  the  Highlands,  for  the  last  century,  and  everywhere 
else  for  at  least  two  centuries  more,  the  view  may  seem  extreme  ;  not  so, 
however,  to  a  native  of  the  Continent,  in  many  parts  of  which,  pre«cri|)- 
tion  and  custom  are  found  ranged,  not  on  the  side  of  the  chief,  but  on 
that  of  the  vassal.  "  Switzerland,"  says  Sismondi,  **  which  in  so  many 
respects  resembles  Scotland, — in  its  lakes,  its  mountains, — its  climate, — 


174 

and  the  character,  manners,  and  habits  of  its  children, — was  likewise  at 
the  same  period  parcelled  out  among  a  small  number  of  ]jords.  If  the 
Counts  of  Kyburgh,  of  Lentzburg,  of  Hapsburg,  and  of  Gruyeres,  had  been 
]>rotected  by  the  English  laws  they  would  find  themselves  at  the  present 
day  precisely  in  the  condition  in  which  the  Earls  of  Sutherland  were 
twenty  years  ago.  Some  of  them  would  perhaps  have  had  the  same  taste 
for  improvements,  and  several  republics  would  have  been  expelled  from 
the  Alps,  to  make  room  for  flocks  of  sheep."  "But  while  the  law  has 
given  to  the  Swiss  peasent  a  guarantee  of  perpetuity,  it  is  to  the  Scottish 
laird  that  it  has  extended  this  guarantee  in  the  British  empire,  leaving  the 
peasant  in  a  precarious  situation."  "The  clan, — recognised  at  first  by 
the  captain,  whom  they  followed  in  war,  and  obeyed  for  their  common  ad- 
vantage, as  his  friends  and  relations,  then  as  his  soldiers,  then  as  his  vas- 
sals, then  as  his  farmers, — he  has  come  finally  to  regard  as  hired  labourers, 
whom  he  may  perchance  allow  to  remain  on  the  soil  of  their  common 
country  for  his  own  advantage,  but  whom  he  has  the  power  to  expel  so 
soon  as  he  no  longer  finds  it  for  his  interest  to  keep  them.'' 

Arguments  like  those  of  Sismondi,  however  much  their  force  may  be 
felt  on  the  Continent  could  be  formidable  at  home,  as  we  have  said,  in 
only  a  time  of  revolution,  when  the  very  foundations  of  society  would  be 
unfixed,  and  opinion  set  loose,  to  pull  down  or  reconstruct  at  pleasure. 
But  it  is  surely  not  uninteresting  to  mark  how,  in  the  course  of  events, 
that  very  law  of  England  w^hich,  in  the  view  of  the  Frenchman,  has  done 
the  Highland  peasant  so  much  less,  and  the  Highland  chief  so  much  more 
than  justice,  is  bidding  fair,  in  the  case  of  Sutherland  at  least,  to  carry  its 
rude  equalizing  remedy  along  with  it.  Between  the  years  1811  and  1820, 
fifteen  thousand  inhabitants  of  this  northern  district  were  ejected  from 
their  snug  inland  farms,  by  means  for  which  we  would  in  vain  seek  a 
precedent  except  perchance  in  the  history  of  the  Irish  masssacre. 

Mr  Miller  goes  on.  He  visited  Sutherland  at  the  the  time  of  the  dis- 
ruption, in  the  Church  of  Scotland,  and  found  the  people  in  a  deplorable 
state;  their  complaints  and  sorrow  were  heard  by  him  thus — "  \Ve  were 
ruined  and  reduced  to  beggary  before,"  they  say,  "  and  now  the  gospel 
is  taken  from  us." 

Nine-tenths  of  the  poor  people  of  Sutherland  are  adherents  to  the  Free 
Church, — all  of  them  in  whose  families  the  worship  of  God  has  been  set 
up, — all  who  entertain  a  serious  belief  in  the  reality  of  religion, — all  who 
are  not  the  creatures  of  the  proprietor,  and  have  not  stifled  their  convic- 
tions for  a  piece  of  bread, — are  devotedly  attached  to  the  dis-established 
ministers,  and  will  endure  none  other.  The  Residuary  clergy  they  do  not 
recognise  as  clergy  at  all.  The  Established  Churches  have  become  as  use- 
less in  the  district,  as  if,  like  its  Druidical  circles,  they  represented  some 
idolatrous  belief,  long  exploded, — the  people  will  not  enter  them  ;  and 
they  respectfully  petition  his  Grace  to  be  permitted  to  build  other  churches 
for  themselves.  And  fain  would  his  Grace  indulge  them,  he  says.  In 
accordance  with  the  suggestion  of  an  innate  desire,  willingly  would  he 
permit  them  to  build  their  own  churches  and  support  their  own  ministers. 
But  then,  has  he  not  loyally  engaged  to  support  the  Establishment  1   To 


175 

j)ermit  a  religious  and  inoffensive  people  to  build  their  own  places  of  wor- 
ship, and  support  their  own  clergy,  would  be  sanctioning  a  sort  of  perse- 
cution against  the  Establishment;  and  as  his  Grace  dislikes  religious  |)er- 
secution,  and  has  determined  always  to  oppose  whatever  tends  to  it,  he  has 
resolved  to  make  use  of  his  influence,  as  the  most  extensive  of  Scottish 
proprietors,  in  forcing  them  back  to  their  parish  churches.  If  they  persist 
in  worshipping  God  agreeably  to  the  dictates  of  their  conscience,  it  must 
be  on  the  unsheltered  hill-side, — in  winter,  amid  the  frosts  and  snows  of 
a  severe  northern  climate. — in  the  milder  seasons,  exposed  to  the  scorch- 
ing sun  and  the  drenching  shower.  They  must  not  be  permitted  the 
shelter  of  a  roof. 

We  have  exhibited  to  our  readers,  in  the  clearing  of  Sutherland  a  pro- 
i-ess  of  ruin  so  thoroughly  disastrous,  that  it  might  be  deemed  scarcely 
possible  to  render  it  more  complete.  And  yet  with  all  its  apparent  com- 
pleteness, it  admitted  of  a  supplementary  process.  To  employ  one  of  the 
striking  figures  of  Scripture,  it  was  possible  to  grind  into  powder  what  had 
lieen  previously  broken  into  fragments, — to  degrade  the  poor  inhabitants 
to  a  still  lower  level  than  that  on  which  they  had  been  so  cruelly  precipi- 
tated,— though  persons  of  a  not  very  original  cast  of  mind  might  have 
found  it  difficult  to  say  how,  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  has  been  ingenious 
enough  to  fall  on  exactly  the  one  proper  expedient  for  supplementing  their 
ruin.  All  in  mere  circumstance  and  situation  that  could  lower  and 
deteriorate,  had  been  present  as  ingredients  in  the  first  jirocess;  but  there 
still  remained  for  the  people,  however  reduced  to  poverty  or  broken  in 
spirit,  all  in  religion  that  consoles  andennobles.  Sabbath-days  came  round 
with  their  humanizing  influences;  and,  under  the  teachings  of  the  gospel, 
the  poor  and  the  oppressed  looked  longingly  forward  to  a  future  scene  of 
Ijeing,  in  which  there  is  no  poverty  or  oppression.  They  still  possessed, 
amid  their  misery,  something  positively  good,  of  which  it  was  impossible  to 
deprive  them;  and  hence  the  ability  derived  to  the  present  lord  of  Suther- 
land of  deepening  and  rendering  more  signal  the  ruin  accomplished  by 
his  jiredecessor. 

These  harmonize  but  too  well  with  the  mode  in  which  the  interior  of 
Sutherland  was  cleared,  and  the  improved  cottages  of  its  sea-coasts  erected. 
I'he  plan  has  its  two  items.  No  sites  are  to  be  granted  in  the  district  for 
!Vee  Churches,  and  no  dwelling-house  for  Free  Church  ministers.  The 
limate  is  severe, — the  winters  prolonged  and  stormy, — the  roads  which 
>  onnect  the  chief  seats  of  j)opulution  with  the  neighbouring  counties, 
dreary  and  long.  May  not  ministers  and  people  bo  eventually  worn  out 
in  this  way?  Such  is  the  portion  of  the  plan  which  his  Grace  and  his 
Grace's  creatures  can  afford  to  present  to  the  light.  But  there  are  supple- 
mentary items  of  a  somewhat  darker  kind.  The  poor  cotters  are,  in  the 
great  majority  of  cases,  tenants-at-will ;  and  there  has  been  much  pains 
taken  to  inform  them,  that  to  the  crime  of  entertaining  and  sheltering  a 
Protesting  minister,  the  penalty  of  ejection  from  their  holdings  must 
inevitably  attach.  The  laws  of  Charles  have  again  returned  in  this  un- 
happy district,  and  free  and  tolerating  Scotland  has  got,  in  the  nineteenth 
1  ontury,  as  in  the  seventeenth,  its  intercommuned  ministers. 


176 

not  say  that  the  intimation  has  emanated  from  the  Duke.  It  is  the  mis- 
fortune of  such  men,  that  there  creep  around  them  creatures  whose  busi- 
ness it  is  to  anticipate  their  wishes ;  but  who,  at  tiuies,  doubtless,  instead 
of  anticipating,  misinterpret  them  ;  and  who,  even  when  not  very  much 
mistaken,  impart  to  whatever  they  do  the  impress  of  their  own  k)w  and 
menial  natures,  and  thus  exaggerate  in  the  act,  the  intention  of  their 
masters.  We  do  not  say,  therefore,  that  the  intimation  has  emanated 
from  the  Duke ;  but  this  we  say,  that  an  exemplary  Sutherlandshire 
minister  of  the  Protesting  Church,  who  resigned  his  worldly  all  for  the 
sake  of  his  principles,  had  lately  to  travel,  that  he  might  preach  to  his 
attached  people,  a  long  journey  of  forty- four  miles  outwards,  and  as  much 
in  return,  and  all  this  without  taking  shelter  under  cover  of  a  roof,  or 
without  partaking  of  any  other  refreshment  than  that  furnished  by  the 
slender  store  of  provisions  which  he  had  carried  with  him  from  his  new 
home.  Willingly  would  the  poor  Highlanders  have  received  him  at  any 
risk  ;  but  knowing  from  experience  what  a  Sutherlandshire  removal  means 
he  preferred  enduring  any  amount  of  hardship  rather  than  that  the 
hospitality  of  his  people  should  be  made  the  occasion  of  their  ruin.  We 
have  already  adverted  to  the  case  of  a  lady  of  Sutherland  threatened 
"with  ejection  from  her  home  because  she  had  extended  the  shelter  of  her 
roof  to  one  of  the  Protesting  clergy, — an  aged  and  venerable  man,  who 
had  quitted  the  neighbouring  manse,  his  home  for  many  years,  because  he 
could  no  longer  enjoy  it  in  consistency  with  his  principles  ;  and  we  have 
shown  that  that  aged  and  venerable  man  was  the  lady's  own  father.  What 
amount  of  oppression  of  a  smaller  and  more  petty  character  may  not  be 
expected  in  the  circumstances,  when  cases  such  as  these  are  found  to  stand 
but  a  very  little  over  the  ordinary  level  1 

The  meanness  to  which  ducal  hostility  can  stoop  in  this  hapless  district, 
impress  with  a  feeling  of  surprise.  In  the  parish  of  Dornoch,  for  instance, 
where  his  Grace  is  fortunately  not  the  sole  landowner,  there  has  been  a 
site  procured  on  the  most  generous  terms  from  Sir  George  Gunn  Monro 
of  Poyntzfield  ;  and  this  gentleman,  believing  himself  possessed  of  a 
hereditary  right  to  a  quarry,  which,  though  on  the  Duke's  ground,  had 
been  long  resorted  to  by  the  proprietors  of  the  district  generally,  instruc- 
ted the  builder  to  take  from  it  the  stones  which  he  needed.  Here,  how- 
ever, his  Grace  interfered.  Never  had  the  quarry  been  prohibited  before, 
but  on  this  occasion,  a  stringent  interdict  arrested  its  use.  If  his  Grace 
could  not  prevent  a  hated  Free  Church  from  arising  in  the  district,  he 
could  at  least  add  to  the  expense  of  its  erection.  We  have  even  heard 
that  the  portion  of  the  building  previously  erected  had  to  be  pulled  down 
and  the  stones  returned. 

How  are  we  to  account  for  a  hostility  so  determined,  and  that  can  stoop 
so  low  1  In  two  different  ways,  we  are  of  opinion,  and  in  both  have  the 
people  of  Scotland  a  direct  interest.  Did  his  Grace  entertain  a  very 
intense  regard  for  Established  Presbytery,  it  is  probable  that  he  himself 
would  be  a  Presbyterian  of  the  Establishment.  But  such  is  not  the  case. 
The  church  into  which  he  would  so  fain  force  the  people  has  been  long, 
since  deserted  by  himself.     The  secret  of  the  course  which  he  pursues  can. 


have  no  connection  therefore  with  religious  motive  or  belief.  It  can  be 
no  prosleytising  spirit  that  misleads  his  Grace.  Let  us  remark,  in  the 
first  place,  rather  however,  in  the  way  of  embodying  a  fact,  than  imputing 
a  motive,  that  with  his  present  views,  and  in  his  present  circumstances,  it 
may  not  seem  particularly  his  Grace's  interest  to  make  the  county  of  Suther- 
land a  happy  or  desii-able  home  to  the  people  of  Scotland.  It  may  not 
to  be  his  Grace's  interest  that  the  population  of  the  district  should  increase. 
The  dealing  of  the  sea  coast  may  seem  as  little  prejudicial  to  his  Grace's 
welfare  now,  as  the  clearing  of  the  interior  seemed  adverse  to  the  interests 
of  his  predecessor  thirty  years  ago ;  nay,  it  is  quite  possible  that  his  Grace 
may  be  led  to  regard  the  clearing  of  the  coast  as  the  better  and  more  im- 
portant clearing  of  the  two.  Let  it  not  be  forgotten  that  a  poor-law  hangs 
over  Scotland — that  the  shores  of  Sutherland  are  covered  with  what 
seems  one  vast  straggling  village,  inhabited  by  an  impoverislied  and  ruined 
people — and  that  the  coming  assessment  may  yet  fall  so  weighty  that  the 
extra  profits  accruing  to  his  Grace  from  his  large  sheep  farms,  may  go  but 
a  small  way  in  supporting  his  extra  paupers.  It  is  not  in  the  least  impro- 
bable, that  he  may  live  to  find  the  revolution  effected  by  his  predecessor 
taking  to  itself  the  form  not  of  a  crime,  for  that  would  be  nothing, — 
but  of  a  disastrous  and  very  terrible  blunder. 

There  is  another  remark  which  may  prove  not  unworthy  the  considera- 
tion of  the  reader.  Ever  since  the  completion  of  the  fatal  experiment 
which  ruined  Sutherland,  the  noble  family  through  which  it  was  originated 
and  carried  on  have  betrayed  the  utmost  jealousy  of  having  its  real  results 
made  public.  Volumes  of  special  pleading  have  been  written  on  the  sub- 
ject, — pamphlets  have  been  published,  laboured  articles  have  been  inserted 
in  widely  spread  reviews, — statistical  accounts  have  been  watched  over 
with  the  most  careful  surveillance.  If  the  misrepresentations  of  the  press 
could  have  altered  the  matter  of  fact,  famine  would  not  be  gnawing  the 
vitals  of  Sutherland  in  a  year  a  little  less  abundant  than  its  prede- 
cessors nor  would  the  dejected  and  oppressed  people  be  feeding  their 
discontent,  amid  present  misery,  with  the  recollections  of  a  happier  past. 
If  asingularly  well-conditioned  and  wholesome  district  of  country  has  been 
converted  into  one  wide  ulcer  of  wretchedness  and  woe,  it  must  be  confessed 
that  the  sore  has  been  carefully  bandaged  up  from  the  public  eye, — that 
if  there  has  been  little  done  for  its  cure,  there  has  at  least  been  much  done 
for  its  concealment.  Now,  be  it  remembered,  that  a  Free  Church  threat- 
(ius  to  insert  a  tent  into  this  wound,  and  so  keep  it  o|)en.  It  has  been 
said  that  the  Gaelic  language  removes  a  district  more  effectually  from  the 
intluenco  of  English  opinion  than  an  ocean  of  three  thousand  miles,  and 
that  the  British  public  know  better  what  is  doing  in  New  York  than  what 
is  doing  in  Lewis  or  Skye.  And  hence  one  cause,  at  least,  of  the  thick 
obscurity  that  has  so  long  enveloped  the  miseries  which  the  poor  High- 
lander has  had  to  endure,  and  the  oppressions  to  which  he  has  been 
subjected.  The  Free  Chui-ch  threatens  to  translate  her  wrongs  into  Eng- 
lish, and  to  give  them  currency  in  the  general  mart  of  opinion.  She 
might  possibly  enough  be  no  silent  spectator  of  conflagrations  such  at 
those  which  characterized  the  first  general  iniprovomont  of  Sutherland,— 


178 

nor  yet  of  such  Egyptian  schemes  of  house-building  as  that  which  formed 
part  of  the  improvements  of  a  later  plan.  She  might  be  somewhat  apt  to 
betray  the  real  state  of  the  district,  and  thus  render  laborious  misrepre- 
sentation of  little  avail.  She  might  effect  a  diversion  in  the  cause  of  the 
people,  and  shake  the  foundations  of  the  hitherto  despotic  power  which 
has  so  long  weighed  them  down.  She  might  do  for  Sutherland  what 
Cobbett  promised  to  do  for  it,  but  what  Cobbett  had  not  character  enough 
to  accomplish,  and  what  he  did  not  live  even  to  attempt.  A  combination 
of  circumstances  have  conspired  to  vest  in  a  Scottish  proprietor,  in  this 
northern  district,  a  more  despotic  power  than  even  the  most  absolute 
monarclis  of  the  Continent  possess;  and  it  is,  perhaps,  no  great  wonder 
that  that  proprietor  should  be  jealous  of  the  introduction  of  an  element 
which  threatens,  it  may  seem,  materially  to  lessen  it.  And  so  he  strug- 
gles hard  to  exclude  the  Free  Church,  and,  though  no  member  of  the  Es- 
tablishment himself,  declares  warmly  in  its  behalf.  Certain  it  is,  that 
from  the  Establishment,  as  now  constituted,  he  can  have  nothing  to  fear, 
and  the  people  nothing  to  hope. 

Af  tei-  what  manner  may  his  Grace,  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  be  most 
effectually  met  in  this  matter,  so  that  the  cause  of  toleration  and  freedom 
of  conscience  may  be  maintained  in  the  extensive  district  which  God,  in 
his  providence,  has  consigned  to  his  stewardship?  We  shall  in  our  next 
chapter  attempt  giving  the  question  an  answer.  Meanwhile,  we  trust  the 
people  of  Sutherland  will  continue,  as  hitherto,  to  stand  firm.  The  strong 
repugnance  which  they  feel  against  being  driven  into  churches  which  all 
their  ministers  have  left,  is  not  ill  founded.  No  church  of  God  ever  em- 
ploys such  means  of  conversion  as  those  employed  by  his  Grace;  they  are 
means  which  have  been  often  resorted  to  for  the  purpose  of  making  men 
worse, — never  yet  for  the  purpose  of  making  them  better.  We  know  that 
with  their  long  formed  church-going  habits,  the  people  must  feel  their 
now  silent  Sabbaths  pass  heavily  ;  but  they  would  perhaps  do  well  to 
remember  amid  the  tedium  and  gloom,  that  there  were  good  men  who- 
not  only  anticipated  such  a  time  of  trial  for  this  country,  but  who  also 
made  provision  for  it.  Thomas  Scott,  when  engaged  in  writing  his  Com- 
mentary, used  to  solace  himself  with  the  belief  that  it  might  be  of  use  at 
a  period  when  the  public  worship  of  God  would  be  no  longer  tolerated  in 
the  land.  To  the  great  bulk  of  the  people  of  Sutherland  that  time  seems 
to  have  already  come.  They  know,  however,  the  value  of  the  old  divines, 
and  have  not  a  few  of  their  more  practical  treatise  translated  into  their 
expressive  tongue, — Alleine^s  Alarm, — Boston's  Fourfold  State, — Dod- 
dridge's Else  and  Progress, — Baxter  s  Call, — Guthrie's  Saving  Interest. 
Let  these  and  such  as  these  be  their  preachers,  when  they  can  procure  no 
other.  The  more  they  learn  to  relish  them,  the  less  will  they  relish  the 
bald  and  miserable  services  of  the  Residuary  Church.  Let  them  hold 
their  fellowship  and  prayer  meetings, — let  them  keep  up  the  worship  of 
God  in  their  families  :  the  cause  of  religious  freedom  in  the  district  is  in- 
volved in  the  stand  which  they  make.  Above  all,  let  them  possess  their 
souls  in  patience.  We  are  not  unacquainted  with  the  Celtic  character, 
as  developed  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.     Highlanders,  up  to  a  certain. 


179 

point,  are  the  most  docile,  patient,  enduring  of  men  ;  but  that  point  once 
ptissed,  endurance  ceases,  and  the  all  too  gentle  lamb  starts  up  an  angiy 
lion.  The  spirit  is  stirred  that  maddens  at  the  sight  of  the  naked  wea}>on, 
and  that  in  its  headlong  rush  uix>n  the  enemy,  discipline  can  neither 
check  nor  control.  Let  our  oppressed  Highlanders  of  Sutherland  beware. 
They  have  suffered  much;  but,  so  far  as  man  is  the  agent,  their  battles  can 
be  fought  on  only  the  arena  of  public  opinion,  and  on  that  ground  which 
the  political  field  may  be  soon  found  to  furnish.  Any  explosion  of  violence 
on  their  })art  would  be  ruin  to  both  the  Free  Cburch  and  themselves. 

But  we  have  not  yet  said  how  this  ruinous  revolution  was  effected  in 
Sutherland, — how  the  aggravation  of  the  viode,  if  we  may  so  speak,  still 
fester  in  the  recollections  of  the  people, — or  how  thoroughly  that  policy  of 
the  lord  of  the  soil,  through  which  he  now  seems  determined  to  complete 
the  work  of  ruin  which  his  predecessors  began,  harmonizes  with  its  worst 
details.  We  must  first  relate,  however,  a  disastrous  change  which  took 
place,  in  the  providence  of  God,  in  the  noble  family  of  Sutherland,  and 
which,  though  it  dates  fully  eighty  years  back,  may  be  regarded  as  preg- 
nant with  the  disasters  which  afterwards  befell  the  country. 

Such  of  our  readers  as  are  acquainted  with  the  memoir  of  Lady  Glen- 
orchy,  must  remember  a  deeply  melancholy  incident  which  occurred  in 
the  history  of  this  excellent  woman,  in  connection  with  the  noble  family 
of  Sutherland.  Her  only  sister  had  been  married  to  William,  seventeenth 
Earl  of  Sutherland, — **  the  first  of  the  good  Earls  ;"  "a  nobleman,"  says 
the  Kev.  Dr.  Jones  in  his  Memoir,  "  who  to  the  finest  person  united  all 
the  dignity  and  amenity  of  manners  and  character  which  give  lustre  to 
greatness."  But  his  sun  was  destined  soon  to  go  down.  Five  years  after 
his  marriages,  which  proved  one  of  the  happiest,  and  was  blessed  with  two 
children,  the  elder  of  the  two,  the  young  Lady  Catherine,  a  singularly  en- 
gaging child,  was  taken  from  him  by  death,  in  his  old  hereditary  castle  of 
Dunrobin.  The  event  deeply  affected  both  parents,  and  preyed  on  their 
health  and  spirits.  It  had  taken  place  amid  the  gloom  of  a  severe  north- 
em  winter,  and  in  the  solitude  of  the  Highlands;  and  acquiesing  in  the 
advice  of  friends,  the  Karl  and  his  lady  quitted  the  family  seat,  where 
there  was  so  much  to  remind  them  of  their  bereavement,  and  sought  relief 
in  the  more  cheerful  atmosphere  of  Bath.  But  they  were  not  to  find  it 
there.  Shortly  after  their  arrival,  the  Earl  was  seized  by  a  malignant 
fever,  with  which,  upheld  by  a  [>owerful  constitution,  he  struggled  for 
fifty-four  days,  and  then  expired.  For  the  first  twenty-one  days  and 
nights  of  tliese,"  says  Dr.  Jones,  "  Lady  Sutherland  never  left  his  bed- 
side; and  then  at  last,  overcome  with  fatigue,  anxiety,  and  grief,  she  sank 
an  unavailing  victim  to  an  amiable,  but  excessive  attachment,  seventeen 
days  before  the  death  of  her  lord."  The  period,  though  not  very  remote, 
was  one  in  which  the  intelligence  of  events  travelled  slowly  ;  and  in  this 
instance  the  distraction  of  the  family  must  have  served  to  retard  it  beyond 
the  ordinary  time.  Her  Ladyship's  mother,  when  hastening  from  Edin- 
burgh to  her  assistance,  alighted  one  day  from  her  carriage  at  an  inn,  and 
on  seeing  two  hearses  standing  by  the  way  side,  inquired  of  an  attendant 
whose  remains  they  contained  1    The  reply  was,  the  remains  of  Lord  and 


180 

Lady  Sutherland,  on  their  way  for  interment  to  the  Royal  Chapel  of  Holy- 
rood  House.  And  such  yths  the  first  intimation  of  which  the  lady  received 
of  the  death  of  her  daughter  and  son-in-law. 

The  event  was  pregnant  with  disaster  to  Sutherland,  though  many  years 
elapsed  ere  the  ruin  which  it  involved  fell  on  that  hapless  country.  The 
sole  survivor  and  heir  of  the  family  was  a  female  infant  of  but  a  year  old. 
Her  maternal  grandmother,  an  ambitious,  intriguing  woman  of  the  world, 
had  the  chief  share  in  her  general  training  and  education  ;  and  she  was 
brought  up  in  the  south  of  Scotland,  of  which  her  grandmother  was  a 
native,  far  removed  from  the  influence  of  those  genial  sympathies  with 
the  people  of  her  clan,  for  which  the  old  lords  of  Sutherland  had  been  so 
remarkable,  and,  what  was  a  sorer  evil  still,  from  the  influence  of  the 
vitalities  of  that  religion  which,  for  five  generations  together,  her  fathers 
had  illustrated  and  adorned.  The  special  mode  in  which  the  disaster  told 
first,  was  through  the  patronage  of  the  county,  the  larger  part  of  which 
was  vested  in  the  family  of  Sutherland.  Some  of  the  old  Earls  had  been 
content,  as  we  have  seen,  to  place  themselves  on  the  level  of  the  Christian 
men  of  their  parishes,  and  thus  to  unite  with  them  in  calling  to  their 
churches  the  Christian  minister  of  their  choice.  They  know, — what  re- 
generated nature  can  alone  know,  with  the  proper  emphasis,  that  in  Christ 
Jesus  the  vassal  ranks  with  his  Lord,  and  they  conscientiously  acted  on  the 
conviction.  But  matters  were  now  regulated  difierently.  The  presenta- 
tion supplanted  the  call,  and  the  ministers  came  to  be  placed  in  the  parishes 
of  Sutherland  without  the  consent,  and  contrary  to  the  will,  of  the  people. 
Churches,  well  filled  hitherto,  were  deserted  by  their  congregations,  just 
because  a  respectable  woman  of  the  world,  making  free  use  of  what  she  deem- 
ed her  own,  had  planted  them  with  men  of  the  world,  who  were  only  tolera- 
bly respectable  ;  and  in  houses  and  bams,  the  devout  men  of  the  district 
learned  to  hold  numerously  attended  Sabbath  meetings  for  reading  the 
Scriptures,  and  mutual  exhortation,  and  prayer,  as  a  sort  of  substitute  for 
the  public  services,  in  which  they  found  they  could  no  longer  join  with 
profit.  The  spirit  awakened  by  the  old  Earls  had  survived  themselves, 
and  ran  directly  counter  to  the  policy  of  their  descendant.  Strongly  at- 
tached to  the  Establishment  the  people,  though  they  thus  forsook  their 
old  places  of  worship,  still  remained  members  of  the  national  Church,  and 
travelled  far  in  the  summer  season  to  attend  the  better  ministers  of  their 
own  and  the  neighbouring  counties.  We  have  been  assured,  too,  from 
men  whose  judgment  we  respect,  that,  under  all  their  disadvantages, 
religion  continued  peculiarly  to  flourish  among  them ; — a  deep-toned  evan- 
gelism prevailed;  so  that  perhaps  the  visible  church  throughout  the  world 
at  the  time  could  furnish  no  more  striking  contrast  than  that  which  ob- 
tained between  the  cold,  bald,  common-place  service  of  the  pulpit  in  some 
of  these  parishes,  and  the  fervid  prayers  and  exhortations  which  give  life 
and  interest  to  these  humble  meeting  of  the  people.  What  a  pity  it  is 
that  differences  such  as  these  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  cannot  see.  ! 

The  marriage  of  the  young  countess  into  a  noble  English  family  was 
fraught  with  further  disaster  to  the  country.  There  are  m  any  Englishmen 
quite  intelligent  enough  to  perceive  the  difference  between  a  smoky  cottage 


181 

of  turf  and  a  white-washed  cottage  of  stone,  whose  judgment  on  their 
respective  inhabitants  wouj^d  be  of  but  little  value.  "  Sutherland,  as  a 
country  of  men,  stood  higher  at  this  period  than  perhaps  any  other  dis- 
trict in  the  British  empire ;  but,  as  our  description  in  the  preceding  chap- 
ter must  have  shown, — and  we  indulged  in  thera  mainly  with  a  view  to  tliis 
part  of  our  subject, — it  by  no  means  stood  high  as  a  country  of  farms  and 
cottages.  The  marriage  of  the  Countess  brought  a  new  set  of  eyes  upon 
it — eyes  accustomed  to  quite-  a  different  face  of  things.  It  seemed  a  wild, 
rude  country,  where  all  was  wrong,  and  all  had  to  be  set  right, — a  sort  of 
Russia  on  a  small  scale,  that  had  just  got  another  Peter  the  Great  to  civi- 
lize it, — or  a  sort  of  barbarous  Egypt,  with  an  energetic  Ali  Pasha  at  its 
head.  Even  the  vast  wealth  and  great  liberality  of  the  Staflbrd  family 
militated  against  this  hapless  country  :  it  enabled  them  to  treat  it  as  the 
mere  subject  of  an  interesting  experiment,  in  which  gain  to  themselves 
was  really  no  object, — nearly  as  little  so  as  if  they  had  resolved  on  dissect- 
ing a  dog  alive  for  the  benefit  of  science." 

Mr.  Miller  might  have  gone  farther  to  shew  the  cause  of  the  desolation 
which  overtook  the  Sutherlanders,  for  he  was  aware  of  it,  but  for  want  of 
positive  proof  he  was  deterred.  There  was  mighty  cause  to  believe  in 
Sutherlandshire  that  there  was  not  a  drop  of  the  Sutherland  families  blood 
in  the  veins  of  the  first  Duchess  of  Sutherland.  As  tradition  in  the 
country  went,  when  she  an  infant  came  under  the  guardianship  of  her 
Grandmother,  a  cousin  or  a  second  cousin  of  hers  of  the  name  of  Betsy 
Wyms  of  the  same  age,  and  complexion  with  Betsy  Sutherland,  was 
brought  home  to  the  Grandmother  to  be  her  companion,  the  children 
lived  happy,  and  grew  together,  but  Betsy  Sutherland  grew  taller  than  her 
companion.  The  gentlemen  of  Sutherland  were  very  mindful  of  their 
heiress,  and  were  sending  her  presents  of  the  produce  of  the  county,  such 
as  fowls,  venison,  butter,  cheese,  <fec.,  yearly,  and  the  family  officer  of  the 
name  of  John  Harall,  was  always  entrusted  with  the  mission  ;  in  this 
way  John  became  well  acquainted  with  the  young  heiress  and  her  com- 
panion, on  his  arrival  she  always  (after  she  was  four  or  five  years  of  age) 
met  him  at  the  gate  entrance,  and  made  great  work  with  him,  she  could 
scarcely  be  prevailed  upon  to  go  to  bed  that  night  he  arrived,  but  getting 
little  news  from  him.  When  she  was  about  eight  years  of  age,  the  news 
came  home  to  Sutherland  that  a  sudden  death  deprived  her  of  her  com- 
panion, Betsy  Wyms :  and  a  great  lamentation  was  made  as  Betsy  Suther- 
land was  so  very  melancholy,  and  refused  to  accept  of  any  other  companion. 
Next  Martimas  John  Harral  was  despatched  with  presents  more  than  ordi- 
nary, and  letters  of  condolence  to  the  young  heiress,  and  wishing 
the  day  might  soon  arrive  when  they  would  see  her  in  Sutherland,  and 
sitting  on  her  mother's  chair  in  Dunrobin  Castle.  Jolin  Harral  airived 
in  Edinburgh,  and  at  the  gate  of  Leven  Mansion,  rang  the  bell,  observed 
the  young  lady  coming  as  usual,  skipping  down  among  the  shrubbery, 
and  her  maid  following,  the  gate  was  opened  and  the  young  lady  grasped 
him  by  the  hand  ;  John  was  dumbfounded  and  in  his  confusion  of  mind 
asked  where  was  Betsy  Sutherland,  (as  he  used  to  call  her) ;  I  am  Betsy 
Sutherland  was  the  reply ;  no  my  dear  says  he,  you  are  Betsy  Wyms ;  the 


182 

maid  whirled  the  young  lady  about,  and  John  did  not  see  her  face  again 
for  years  ;  John  delivered  his  commission  as  usual,  and  was  discharged 
that  same  night,  instead  of  remaining  a  week  or  a  fortnight  as  usual. 
John  came  home  disappointed  and  disheartened,  and  told  his  plain  story 
but  full  of  mystery.  The  heiress  was  removed  to  a  boarding  school  in 
England,  and  could  not  be  seen  by  another  Sutherlander  to  recognise  her 
until  she  came  to  raise  a  regiment  in  Sutherland  :  what  confirmed  the  fraud 
upon  the  minds  of  the  people  was  a  singular  anecdote.  The  first  night 
she  landed  in  Sutherlandshire  a  mildew  or  hoar-frost  fell  that  night,  in 
June,  which  destroyed  the  crops  of  that  year,  and  almost  every  green 
growth  in  the  county,  and  did  yet  not  reach  upon  either  the  neighbouring 
counties  of  Caithness  or  Ross,  and  it  is  said  that  that  mildew  never  rose 
yet.  One  thing  is  clear  that  at  the  time  Betsy  Wyms  was  reported  to  be 
dead,  that  a  commission  was  bought  in  the  East  India  Company  for  the 
proper  heir  of  the  estate,  who  was  then  only  a  young  boy  ;  though  ever 
so  young  he  was  despatched  to  that  cemetery  of  enterprise,  where  he 
soon  died,  none  being  then  to  claim  the  estate  but  his  two  orphan  sisters, 
the  investigation  to  the  fraud  ceased,  but  the  Duchess  had  the  generosity 
of  settling  a  portion  of  £15  upon  each  of  these  presumptive  female  heirs, 
but  when  they  became  old  and  infirm,  occupying  a  small  garret  room  in 
the  Candlemaker  Row,  Edinburgh,  the  portion  was  reduced  by  Loch  to 
£2  each,  yearly.  I  knew  them,  I  often  visited  them  in  this  forlorn  con- 
dition, I  petitioned  her  Grace  twice  in  their  behalf,  but  to  no  2)urpose  ;  at 
last  I  got  them  on  the  west  Kirk  parish  poor  roll.  They  were  taken  into 
the  poor  house  and  died  there. 

The  former  part  of  this  short  but  singular  narrative,  be  it  correct  or  in- 
correct, I  give  it  as  I  heard  it  from  my  father,  and  many  more  of  the  old 
men  who  lived  in  that  age,  and  who  had  too  much  cause  to  believe  it  to 
be  correct,  for  they  were  almost  ever  since  governed  and  treated  with  an 
alien's  iron  and  fiery  rod. 

;  I  am  sorry  that  for  the  present  I  must  lay  aside  many  important  com- 
munications bearing  upon  the  clearing  system  of  the  Highlanders  which 
corroborates  and  substantiates  my  description  of  it,  such  as  letters  published 
by  Mr.  Summer  and  Mr.  Donald  Ross,  Glasgow,  Mr.  Donald  Sutherland, 
which  appeared  in  the  Woodstock  Sentinel  a  few  weeks  ago,  but  above  all 
I  regret  how  little  I  can  take  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Mackie,  Editor  of  the 
Northern  Ensifjn,  Wick,  Caithness,  N.B.,  a  gentleman  who  since  the  appear- 
ance of  his  valuable  paper  proved  himself  the  faithful  friend  of  the  op- 
pressed, the  indefatigable  exposer  of  their  wrongs,  terror  of  o))pre8sors,  and 
a  chastiser  of  their  tools,  apologizers  and  abettors,  though  his  pecuniary 
benefits  would  be  to  sail  in  the  same  boat  with  his  unprincipled  contempo- 
raries in  the  north  of  Scotland,  but  he  chose  the  better  part,  and  there 
is  a  higher  promise  of  reward  for  him  than  worm  Dukes,  Lords,  Esquires, 
and  their  vile  underlings  could  bestow.  The  following  is  among  the  last 
of  his  productions  on  the  subject. 


183 

'WILLING  HANDS  FOR  INDIA.' 

Over  this  title  Punch  of  last  week  gives  a  very  exciting  illustration.  A 
towering  cart  load  of  ingathered  grain,  with  a  crowing  cock  on  its  summit, 
forms  the  background  ;  while  in  front  a  recruiting  officer  and  a  party  are 
cheered  by  the  excited  harvesters  coming  forward  with  reaping  hooks  in 
their  hands,  to  volunteer  for  India,  the  banner  borne  by  the  otiicer  repre- 
senting the  British  lion  in  the  act  of  springing  on  the  Bengal  tiger.  The 
recruits,  not  yet  returned  from  the  harvest  field,  are  all  enthusiasm,  and 
are  eagerly  rushing  to  enrol  themselves  among  the  avengers  of  the  butch- 
eries that  have  been  perpetrated  in  our  Indian  empire. 

The  newspapers  of  the  south  report  that  the  recruiting  in  certain  dis- 
tricts has  been  most  successful,  and  that  already  many  thousand  young 
men  of  promise  have  entered  the  line.  It  is  remarkable,  however,  particu- 
larly so,  that  all  reference  to  the  district  from  which  the  main  strength 
of  our  regular  army  was  formerly  obtained  is  most  studiously  avoided. 
May  we  ask  the  authorities  what  success  the  recruiting  officer  has  now 
met  with  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  ?  Time  was,  in  former  exigencies, 
when  all  eyes  were  turned  in  that  direction  and  not  in  vain.  Time  was, 
when,  in  only  five  days,  the  county  of  Sutherland  alone  contributed  one 
tlioiisand  young  men ;  and  when,  in  fourteen  days,  no  fewer  than  eleven 
times  that  number  were  enrolled  as  recruits  from  the  various  Highland 
districts.  Time  was  when  the  immortal  Chatham  boasted  that  *  he  had 
found  upon  the  mountains  of  Caledonia  a  gallant  though  oppressed  race  of 
heroes,  who  had  triumphantly  carried  the  British  banner  into  every 
quarter  of  the  globe.'  Time  was  when  PuncJi  would,  in  such  an  illustra- 
tion as  that  of  last  week,  have  included  in  its  representation  some  half- 
dozen  kilted  Celts,  shoulder  to  shoulder,  issuing  from  the  mountain 
hom<!S,  and  panting  to  be  let  loose  on  tiie  Indian  bloodhounds. 

Why  not  now  ]  Answer  the  question,  my  Lord  Duke  of  Sutherland. 
Tell  her  Majesty,  my  Lord,  why  the  bagpipes  of  the  recruiting  ]>arty  are 
silent  in  Sutherland,  and  why  *  no  willing  hands  for  India '  are  found  in 
your  Grace's  vast  Highland  domain.  Tell  her  how  it  happens  that  the 
patriotic  enthusiasm  which  at  the  close  of  the  last  century  was  shown  in 
the  almost  magical  enrolment  of  thousands  of  brawny  Sutherlanders,  who 
gained  world-wide  renown  at  Corunna,  at  Fuentt^s  d'Onor,  at  Vittoria,  at 
Waterloo,  and  elsewhere,  is  now  unknown  in  Sutherland,  and  how  the 
enrolment  of  one  man  in  that  large  county  is  a  seven  year's  wonder.  If 
your  f  J  race  is  silent  the  answer  is  not  wanting,  nor  is  her  Majesty  igno- 
rant of  it. 

And  yet  the  cursed  system  which  has  disheartened  and  well  nigh 
Itjstroyed  that  *  race  of  heroes,'  is  ])ertinaciou8ly  persevered  in  by  the  very 
men  who,  of  all  others,  should  be  the  first  to  come  forward  and  denounce 
it.  'Willing  hands  for  India,' say /^(/nc/j.  'No,'  sjiys  hi^'h  bred  lorda 
and  coroneted  jieers  ;  gives  us  game  preserves,  deer  forests,  and  sheep 
walks.  Perish  your  bold  peasantry  I  and  life  to  the  pleasures  of  the  forest 
and  the  mountain  heath.'  And  thus  it  is  that  landlord  after  landlord  is 
yearly  weeding  out  the  aborginies,  and  converting  Scotland  into  one  pon- 


184 

derous  deer  forest.  Not  a  year  passes  without  seeing  hundreds  of  unof- 
fending men,  women,  and  children,  from  Cape  Wrath  to  Mull  of  Galloway^ 
remorselessly  unhoused,  and  their  little  crofts  added  to  the  vast  waste. 
And  now  that  Britain  for  the  second  time  in  four  years  has  again  to 
invoke  the  patriotism  of  her  sons,  and  to  call  for  aid  in  the  eventful  crisis 
in  India,  the  blast  of  the  recruiter's  bugle  evokes  only  the  bleat  of  sheep, 
or  the  pitiful  bray  of  the  timid  deer,  in  the  greater  part  of  those  wide  regions 
which  formerly  contributed  their  tens  of  thousands  of  men  to  fight  their 
country's  battles.  Oh,  had  Chatham  been  alive  now,  what  a  feeling  would 
have  been  awakened  in  his  manly  breast  as  he  surveyed  the  wreck  which 
the  Loch  policy  has  occasioned  ;  and  with  what  crushing  eloquence  would 
he  have  invoked  the  curse  of  heaven  on  that  system.  Meanwhile,  Britain 
misses  her  Highland  heroes,  and  the  imperilled  troops  in  India,  with  the 
unoffending  women  and  children,  must  wait  the  tardy  arrival  of  '  willing 
hands '  to  assist  them,  while,  had  the  Highlanders  of  Scotland  been  aa 
they  once  were,  in  one  week  more  men  would  have  been  raised  for  India 
than  would  have  sufficed  to  have  effectually  crushed  the  Indian  revolt,  had 
spread  itself  from  the  foot  of  the  Himalaya  mountains  to  the  most  distant 
district  of  our  Indian  empire. 

Let  Highland  evictors,  from  Dukes  to  the  meanest  squires,  beware. 
Popular  patience  has  a  limit ;  and  it  seems  to  me  that  the  time  is  rapidly 
nearing  when,  if  Parliament  remains  longer  silent,  the  people  of  the 
covintry  will  arouse  themselves,  and,  by  one  united  expression  of  their 
will,  drive  back  to  its  native  den  the  foul  and  disastrous  policy  which  has 
depeopled  the  Scottish  Highlands." 

Brave  John  Mackie  keep  on  your  armour,  you  have  now  another  Eng- 
lish Duke,  no  doubt  a  sporting  one,  to  watch,  who  will  finish  the  desola- 
tion of  the  Langsvell  Estate,  which  the  scourge,  Donald  Horn,  commenced 
some  years  ago.  You  never  had  a  higher  dignitary  before  in  Caithness 
than  a  Lord.  Now  that  you  are  to  be  honoured  and  blessed  by  a  Duke,  a 
sporting  Grace,  I  predict  that  in  a  few  years  Caithness  which  has  been  hith- 
erto an  exception  among  all  other  Highland  Counties ;  may  be  ranked  in 
the  same  category  with  Sutherlandshire — (Ichahod,  glory  departed^  deso- 
lation)— for  his  Grace  of  Portland's  retinue  will  consist  of  other  Graces, 
and  Lords  who  must  be  supplied  with  sporting  ground  for  themselves, 
while  there  is  an  estate  in  Caithness  which  money  can  purchase  or  to 
lease,  Caithness  lairds  cannot  resist  the  temptation  of  their  long  })urses. 
We  have  proof  positive  of  this  in  the  parishes  of  Reay,  Thurso,  and 
Halkirk  what  devastation  was  made  there,  to  gratify  that  insatiable  mon- 
ster in  human  shape,  John  Paterson  of  rotten,  and  infamous  memory,  to 
the  everlasting  disgrace  of  the  Gordons  and  Sinclairs  who  indulged  that 
man,  what  will  they  not  do  when  they  have  to  gratify  English  graces  and 
lords?  But  it  is  not  what  they  have  done,  or  what  they  will  do,  should  be 
the  question  with  us,  but  what  have  we  done  and  what  are  we  to  dol  We 
have  a  very  important  duty  to  perform,  and  the  sins  of  omission  and  the 
sins  of  commission  are  equally  as  henious,  and  as  culpable  in  the  sight  of 
Heaven.  Much  has  the  British  nation  to  account  for,  for  these  sins  of 
omission.     With  folded  arms,  and  callous  indifference  they  have  seen 


185 

county  after  county  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  depopulated,  the  people 
ruined,  oppressed  and  dispersed;  they  have  tolerated,  indeed  countenanced, 
a  systematic  policy,  which  anyone  might  see  with  half  an  eye,  would  end 
in  the  alienation  of  the  people,  the  enfeeblement  and  ultimately  in  the 
disgrace  of  the  nation.  In  the  year  1747,  the  very  next  year  after  the 
Cumberland  massacre  of  the  Highlanders  upon  Culloden  field,  and  his  nine 
months  ravages  and  murder  in  that  country.  According  to  Gartmor's  manu- 
script, the  Highlands  could  raise  52,800  able-bodied  young  men  from  the 
age  of  18  to  3G  years.  It  is  evident  that  many  years  prior  to  this  date 
agricultural  improvements  were  not  much  studied  in  either  Scotland  or 
England,  more  especially  in  the  Highlands,  on  account  of  continued  inter- 
nal war  and  broils,  about  throning  and  dethroning  legitimate  and  illegiti- 
mate sovereigns  ;  but  if  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  could  then  raise  52,000 
men,  I  ask,  under  proper  and  wise  management,  how  many  soldiers  should 
the  Highlands  raise  in  the  year  1857  ]  At  the  lowest  estimate  we  cannot 
say  less  than  67,000,  only  allowing  the  population  to  increase  one- third 
during  a  |)eriod  of  one  hundred  and  ten  years.  What  would  such  an  in- 
vincible Celtic  array  be  worth  to  the  British  nation  to-day  ?  who  laughed 
and  sneered  at  their  calamities  and  dispersion  some  years  ago,  and  who 
would  practically  say,  they  may  go  to  h — 1  if  they  choose,  but  we  and  our 
sons  must  have  deer  stalking  ground.  I  ask,  what  would  such  an  irresis- 
tible body  of  men  be  worth  to  Britain  to-day  ]  Would  they  not  be  worth 
more  than  all  the  deer,  grouse,  game,  bulls,  bullocks,  rams,  sheep,  and 
lambs,  all  the  sporting  gents,  foresters,  shepherds,  dogs,  and  aristocratic 
scions  in  Britain,  and  all  the  German  legions  that  Germany  can  produce 
to  boot.  Tell  them  John  Mackie,  and  proclaim  it  in  their  ears  through 
your  widely  circulated  and  well  read  Ensign,  that  on  former  emergen- 
cies of  less  importance  than  the  present,  there  was  no  difficulty  in 
raising  regiments  in  the  highlands — take  them  to  their  own  records,  and 
they  will  find  that  6,000  were  raised  or  embodied  in  one  year,  8,000  in 
another  four  years,  and  twenty  times  that  number  willing  and  ready  if 
required  ;  2,000  of  these  were  from  Sutherlandshire,  where  there  is  not  one 
willing  man  to  be  found  now,  and  I  question  if  a  score,  or  even  two,  will- 
ing to  be  soldiers  are  to  be  found  throughout  the  whole  highlands.  The 
patriotism  so  characteristic  of  highlanders  is  comi)letely  destroyed,  and 
that  for  years  i)a8t.  But  Britain  will  find  out  that  if  she  is  to  maintain 
her  former  envied  position  among  the  nations  of  the  earth  that  it  will  be 
by  her  own  sons,  and  not  by  aliens  or  confederating  with  foreigners,  upon 
whose  constancy  very  little  reliance  can  be  placed.  Woe  to  kings,  and 
rulers  who  forsake,  oppress,  and  disperse  their  own  people,  and  have  to 
look  up  to  strangers  and  aliens  for  succour  in  time  of  need.  Britain  has 
dealt  treaclujrously  with  her  own  people.  T/ie  nwunUuns  of  CaledomOf 
from  which  at  all  times  her  principle  succour  did  come  to  her  in  time  qjf 
need  are  desolated.  Britain  is  now  in  need,  and  in  vain  looks  to  these 
mountains  for  the  invincible  host,  for  they  are  not  there,  and  it  is  to  be 
feared  that  she  may  look  in  vain  to  (the  mountain^  God,  to  whom  her 
sires  looked  for  succour,  and  who  often  accompanied  her  armies,  and  host, 
while  they  were  councelled  by  Him,  fighting  the  battles  of  civil  and  reli- 


186 

gious  liberty  at  home  and  abroad,  and  dealing  justly  with  his  people.  But 
who  can  say  but  it  is  upon  the  scorching  plains  of  India  and  through  the 
instrumentality  of  Mahomedans,  Pagans  and  other  idolators,  where  her 
eyes  are  to  be  opened,  and  convinced  of  her  past  shortsighted  folly  and 
sinful  policy,  although  hitherto  blind  to  see  her  folly,  and  deaf  to  the  dic- 
tates of  humanity,  and  sound  reasoning,  to  the  instruction  and  commands 
of  God,  his  prophets  and  apostles,  to  the  remonstrance  of  philosophers,  and 
all  who  had  her  real  interest  at  heart ;  and  although  it  is  generally  believed 
that  it  is  similar  British  tyranny,  shortsighted,  cruel  policy,  and  mal-ad- 
ministration,  which  depopulated  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  ruined  Ire- 
land, and  beggared  two-fifths  of  the  nation  is  the  cause  of  the  outbreak 
in  India,  and  the  horrifying  massacres,  and  inhuman  deeds  perpetrated  by 
these  uncivilised  deluded  savages ;  yet  it  behoves  every  son  of  Britain 
wherever  he  is  to  be  found,  to  join  in  the  demonstration,  demanding  the 
abolition  of  her  game  laws,  and  every  other  law  known  and  proven  to 
afford  these  accursed  vermin  of  the  aristocratic  tribe  an  opportunity  of 
oppressing  the  industrious  people,  and  detrimental  to  the  progress  and 
prosperity  of  the  nation,  and  endangering  her  dignity,  her  safety,  yea  her 
very  existence.  Utopianism,  utopianism,  many  will  cry  out ;  but  it  is 
not  more  Utopian  to  demand  the  abolition  of  the  game  laws,  which  costs 
the  nation  more  than  half  a  million  sterling  yearly  for  banishing  and  im- 
prisoning poachers,  and  which  have  been  the  cause  of  many  a  bloody, 
murderous  affray,  preserving  animals,  and  birds  which  consumes  more  than 
three  millions  sterling  worth  of  human  food  every  year,  besides  the  many 
thousand  acres  of  land  lying  waste  to  afford  them  room  for  amusement  and 
solitude,  than  it  was  to  demand  the  abolition  of  the  Corn  Laws  and  Slave 
Laws.  Many  excellent  men  of  high  standing  in  Society  are  devoting 
their  time  demonstrating  the  necessity  and  legality  of  abolishing,  not 
only  the  Game  Laws,  but  the  Laws  of  Entail  and  Primogeniture,  the 
Hypothec,  <fec.     Will  you  not  follow  their  example  1 


THE  FREEHOLD  MOVEMENT  AND  HIGHLAND  CLEARANCES. 

A  stirring  meeting,  fully  reported  in  the  Daili/  Express  of  Monday, 
was  held  in  Queen  Street  Hall,  Edinburgh,  on  Saturday,  when  powerful 
speeches  were  made  by  Messrs  Beal  (from  London),  Taylor  (from  Bir- 
mingham), Dr.  Begg,  Mr  Duncan  M'Laren,  Mr  Dove,  and  others.  The 
meeting  was  most  enthusiastic,  and  gave  every  indication  of  energy  and 
decision. 

Mr  Beal,  in  the  course  of  his  speech,  said, — In  England,  they  had 
looked  with  stern  indignation  at  some  acts  which  had  taken  place  in  the 
northern  parts  of  Scotland,  in  regard  to  those  great  clearings  of  which 
they  had  heard  so  much.  (Applause.)  Such  things  might  be 
prevented  if  the  influence  of  the  tenantry  and  of  the  mass  of  the 
people,  who  were  now  deprived  of  the  suffrage,  were  brought  to  bear  on 
the  system  of  Parliamentary  representation  by  means  of  a  freehold  move- 
ment. The  counties  would  not  then  send  as  their  representatives  some 
twenty  or  thirty  men  who  lacked  the  intelligence  and  the  progressive 


187 

spirit  of  the  age.  (Hear,  hear.)  The  landlord  influence  would  then  be 
destroyed,  and  the  people's  poet  would  then  be  no  longer  able  to  say  as  at 
present — 

I  have  driven  out  peaaants,  I  have  banished  them  forth, 
There  is  hardly  a  Celt  on  the  hills  of  the  north. 

If  their  own  members  opposed  them,  instead  of  assisting  them  in  the 
movement,  they  could  yet  look  confidently  to  the  support  of  a  large  body 
of  the  English  statesmen. 

Mr.  Dove,  with  his  usual  manly  independence,  spoke  out  nobly,  as  fol- 
lows : — He  looked  upon  this  movement  as  the  first  thing  which  he  had 
seen  in  his  day  that  was  calculated  to  break  up  that  aristocratic  influence 
that  had  long  preyed  upon  this  country  of  Scotland.  (Applause.)  When 
they  saw  men  hounded  out  of  the  Highlands  as  they  had  been — (cheers 
and  hisses) — let  them  ask  themselves  what  possible  measure  could  save 
that  Highland  population  except  a  freehold  movement,  which  should  root 
them  into  the  soil  of  Scotland.  (Cheers.)  That  population  had  been 
driven  out  of  their  country,  and  now  they  had  only  the  sea  and  the  sea- 
shore left  to  them  ;  but  he  (Mr.  Dove)  told  them,  as  he  told  Scotland,  that 
this  movement  was  the  best  movement  which  they  had  seen  in  their  day, 
and  the  most  calculated  to  benefit  the  whole  population  of  the  Highlands 
of  Scotland.  (Loud  applause.)  This  very  day  he  was  a  Scottish  Rights' 
man,  and  would  remain  so.  He  did  not  care  one  single  farthing  what  any 
might  say  on  that  subject ;  he  would  say  that  he  was  a  Scottish  Rights' 
man,  and  would  always  be  so.  (Laughter  and  cheei-s.)  And  that  very 
day,  finding  that  they  could  do  very  little  for  that  Highland  population  in 
any  other  way,  he  had  been  engaged  with  his  friend  Mr.  George  Wink, 
The  Secretary  of  the  Scottish  Rights*  Association,  in  endeavouring  to 
tound  a  fishery,  and  to  furnish  to  these  people  their  boats,  lines,  nets,  and 
♦•verything  which  could  keep  them  at  home.  (Cheers.)  Now,  he  did 
not  know  that  he  should  have  used  the  word  himself ;  but  they  had  been 
told  of  their  subserviency  to  the  landlords;  and  Mr.  Duncan  M'Laren  had 
used  the  words  bad  lawyers.  He  did  not  mean  to  say  that  he  would  have 
used  the  word,  but  in  his  opinion  they  were  all  bad  lawyers.  (Mr. 
M'Laren — I  meant  that  they  were  giving  bad  law,  and  not  that  they  were 
l>ad  men.)  Mr  Dove  said  he  knew  perfectly  well  ^Ir  M'Laren's  mean- 
ing— that  they  were  giving  a  wrong  explanation  of  what  the  law  of  Eng- 
land was,  and  that  they  were  either  ignorant  or  maliciously  misleading  the 
people  of  Scotland.  I3ut  his  (Mr.  Dove's  meaning  was  very  difibrent ; 
for  he  told  them  that  they  were  bad  lawyers,  because  they  had  cleared  out 
that  Highland  population  in  many  cases  illegally — (hisses  and  cheers) — 
ind  he  told  them  that  two  or  three  years  ago  down  at  Knoidart,  they  took 
the  sick  people  out  of  their  houses,  pulled  those  houses  down,  and  left  the 
inmates  exposed  to  the  winds  of  heaven.  (A  voice — 'They  had  no  right 
to  the  land,'  and  cries  of  *  Order ') — and  he  told  them  that  they  pulled 
down  the  barns  there  in  which  the  people  could  have  been  sheltered. 
Now,  it  was  quite  true  that  the  law  unfortunately  gave  them  the  power  to 
pull  down  the  houses,  but  not  the  bams,  which  would  have  in  some 


188 

sure  sheltered  the  poor  people.  But,  nevertheless,  they  had  done  so,  and 
the  people  had  remained  unsheltered  ;  and  he,  (Mr.  Dove)  said  that,  if  as 
Scotchmen  they  permitted  such  things  to  go  on,  they  were  cot  worthy  of 
the  name,  (applause.)  He  hoped  he  had  expressed  his  meaning  pretty 
plainly,  which  was,  that  he  was  a  Scottish  Rights'  man,  and  as  such  he 
could  look  any  Englisman  in  the  face. 

We  hope  to  give  this  great  movement  due  attention  at  an  early  date. 
Good  speed  to  it. 


ODE-  ON  SCOTLAND'S  LOVE  OF  INDEPENDENCE. 


Scotland's  hills  and  dales  can  tell, 
How  bravely  foemen  she  could  quell, 
What  hosts  before  her  vanquish  d  fell 
On  many  a  well  fought  day. 

For  liberty  her  red  cross  flew  ; 
For  liberty  her  sword  she  drew  ; 
For  liberty  her  foes  o'erthrew  ; 
She  could  not  be  a  slave. 

When  Rome's  proud  eagle  was  unfurl'd, 
And  floated  o'er  a  prostrate  world, 
Defiance,  Caledonia  hurl'd, 
And  scorn'd  the  haughty  foe. 

When  Scandinavia  pour'd  her  swarms  ; 
Fill'd  all  her  coasts  with  dire  alarms, 
Then  Scotland  dauntless  rose  in  arms, 
Her  heart  was  proud  and  brave. 

Like  ocean  wave  rush'd  on  her  foes. 
Like  ocean's  barrier  Scotland  rose, 
And  dashed  them  back  and  'round  them  strews 
Their  boasted  chivalry. 

In  freedom's  cause  she  drew  her  brand, 
And  freedom  still  has  bless'd  her  land, 
And  laurel  crown'd  she  aye  could  stand, 
*Mid  bravest  of  the  brave. 

Even  when  her  nobles  did  conspire, 
Chose  England  as  their  high  umpire. 
Her  gallant  son  she  did  inspire — 
Wallace  of  Ellerslie. 

Who,  follow'd  by  a  noble  band. 
Defended  well  their  native  land  ; 
And  Cambuskenneth  saw  the  stand 
They  made  for  Scotland  there. 

But  envy  ever  doth  pursue 
The  brave,  the  faithful,  and  the  true, 
And  traitors  base  this  hero  slew, 
Whose  arm  they  dare  not  brave. 


189 

Tho'  Scotland  mourn'd  her  hero  slain, 
And  prostrate  seem'd,  she  rose  amain, 
And  under  Bruce  did  freedom  gain, 
As  Bannockburn  can  tell. 

But  though  onr  wars  with  England  cease, 
And  union  brings  the  joys  of  peace  ; 
Joys  which  may  more  and  more  increase, 
While  time  its  course  shall  run  ; 

Forget  we  not  that  patriot  band. 
Midst  blood  aud  death  who  raised  the  brand, 
And  fought  for  freedom  and  the  land 
Of  Scotia  brave  and  free. 

J.  M.  Aim. 
Sandwick,  6th  January,  1857. 


LORDS   OF   THE    GLEN. 

(From  *  Braemer  Ballads,'  by  Professor  BlackU.) 


O  fair  is  the  land,  my  own  mountain  land, 

Fit  nurse  for  the  brave  and  the  free. 
Where  the  fresh  breezes  blow  o'er  the  heath's  purple  glow, 
And  the  clear  torrent  gushes  with  glee  I 

But  woe's  me,  woe  !   what  dole  and  sorrow 
From  this  lovely  land  I  borrow. 
When  I  roam,  where  the  stump  of  stricken  ash-tree 
Shows  the  spot  where  the  home  of  the  cotter  should  be^ 
And  the  cold  rain  drips,  and  the  cold  wind  moans 
O'er  the  tumbled  heaps  of  old  grey  stones, 
Where  once  a  fire  blazed  free. 
For  a  blight  has  come  down  on  the  land  of  the  mountain, 
The  storm-nurtured  pine,  and  the  clear-gushing  fountain. 
And  the  chieftains  are  gone,  the  kind  lords  of  the  glen, 
In  the  land  that  once  swarmed  with  the  brave  Highlandmen  I 


0  fair  is  the  land,  my  own  mountain  land, 

Fit  nurse  for  the  brave  and  the  free, 
Where  the  strong  waterfall  scoops  the  gray  granite  wall, 
'Neath  the  roots  of  the  old  pine  tree  ! 

But  woe's  for  me,  woe  !  what  dole  and  sorrow 

From  this  lovely  land  I  borrow. 

When  the  long  and  houseless  glen  I  tee. 

Where  only  the  deer  to  range  is  free. 

And  I  think  on  the  pride  of  tho  dwindled  clan, 

And  tho  home -nick  heart  of  the  brave  Highlandmen  ! 

Far  tost  on  the  billowy  sea. 
For  a  blight  has  come  down  on  the  land  of  the  mountain, 
The  storm-nurtured  pine,  and  the  clear-gushing  fountain, 
And  the  stalkers  of  deer  keep  their  scouts  in  tho  glen 
That  once  swarmed  with  the  high-hearted  bravo  Highlandmen  1 


190 


III. 


O  fair  is  the  land,  my  own  mountain  land, 

Fit  nurse  for  the  brave  and  the  free, 
Where  the  young  river  leaps  down  the  sheer  ledge,  and  sweeps 
With  a  full -flooded  force  to  the  sea  ! 

But  woe  is  me  !   What  dole  and  sorrow 
From  this  lovely  land  I  borrow, 

When  I  think  on  the  men  that  should  father  the  clan, 
But  who  bartered  the  rights  of  the  brave  Highlaudman 
To  the  lordlings  that  live  for  the  pleasure  to  kill 
The  stag  that  roams  free  o'er  the  tenantless  hill ; 
What  care  they  for  the  brave  Highlandman  ? 
For  a  blight  has  come  down  on  the  land  of  the  mountain, 
The  storm-nurtured  pine,  and  the  clear  gushing  fountain, 
And  vendors  of  game  are  the  lords  of  the  glen 
Wlio  rule  o'er  the  fair  mountain  land  without  men  ! 


THE  HIGHLAND  EMIGRANTS. 

I 
Come  away  !   far  away !  from  the  hills  of  bonnie  Scotland 

Here  no  more  may  we  linger  on  the  mountain — in  the  glen — 
Come  away  !   Why  delay  ?    far  away  from  bonnie  Scotland. 
Land  of  grouse,  and  not  of  heroes  !   Land  of  sheep,  and  not  of  men  ! 
Mighty  hunters,  for  their  pastime, 

Needing  deserts  in  our  shires. 
Turn  to  waste  our  pleasent  places, 
Quench  the  smoke  of  cottage  fires. 
Come  away  !   why  delay  ?    Let  us  seek  a  home  denied  us, 
O'er  the  ocean's  that  divide  us  from  the  country  of  our  sires. 

II. 
Come  away  !   far  away  !   from  the  river  ;  from  the  wild  wood  ; 

From  the  soil  where  our  fathers  lifted  Freedom's  broad  claymore 
From  the  paths  in  the  straths,  that  were  dear  to  us  in  childhood  ; 
From  the  kirk  where  love  was  plighted  in  the  happy  days  of  yore. 
Men  and  women  have  no  value 

Where  the  Bruce  and  Wallace  grew, 
And  where  stood  the  clansman's  shieling 
There  the  red  deer  laps  the  dew. 
Come  away  !    far  away  !    But  to  thee,  oh  bonnie  Scotland, 
Wheresoever  we  may  wander  shall  our  hearts  be  ever  true. 


Far  away  !    far  away  !    in  the  light  of  other  regions 

We  shall  prove  how  we  love  thee  to  our  children  yet  unborn. 
Far  away  !    far  away  !    we  shall  teach  them  our  allegiance 
To  thy  name  and  to  thy  glory,  thou  beloved,  though  forlorn. 
At  recital  of  thy  greatness 

Shall  our  warmest  fervour  swell ; 
On  the  story  of  thy  sorrow 

Shall  our  fondest  memories  dwell. 
Far  away  !    why  delay  ?    We  are  banished  from  our  Scotland, 

From  our  own,  our  bonnie  Scotland  !    fare  thee  well !  oh  !  fare  thee  well  ? 

Charles  McKay. 


191 

But  I  have  here  before  me  Lord  Palmerston's  scheme  to  raise  men  in 
the  Highlands,  and  he  makes  himself  sure  it  will  succeed.  I  am  now  an 
old  man,  and  I  have  read  many  wicked,  stupid,  and  suicidal  proposals, 
made  by  Statesmen,  and  schemes  laid  down  before  a  discerning  public, 
but  as  yet  I  aver  that  I  never  read  a  more  stupid,  suicidal,  and  uncon- 
stitutional, and  surer  of  failing,  than  this  one  now  before  you,  taken  from 
Palmerston's  own  sweet  organ,  the  London  Morniny  Post.  I  need  not 
comment  upon  it.  The  Editor  of  the  Northeini  Ensign,  a  gentlemen  who 
knows  more  of  the  Highlanders  that  any  other  Editor  living,  has  done  it 
ample  justice.  Palmerston,  through  his  organ,  the  Moniing  Post,  Siiier 
prefacing  the  article,  says :  — "  The  East  India  Company  wants  men ;  but 
how  are  these  men  to  be  obtained  ?  are  they  to  be  obtained  by  volunteer- 
ing, by  increasing  the  bounty,  or  by  the  employment  of  foreign  mer- 
cenaries ]     He  proceeds  and  says : — 

**  We  would  i)urpose  that  the  peasantry,  the  artizans,  and  the  working 
classes  of  the  three  kingdoms,  should  be  told  that  if  they  enlisted — during 
the  troubles  in  India  for  instance — for  a  limited  period,  at  the  expiration 
of  their  services  they  would  receive  the  same  kind  of  treatment  which  has 
been  extended  to  the  German  Legionaries — namely,  a  fi-ee  jmssage  to  a 
BHtish  Colony^  a  respectable  outjit,  a  jree  grant  of  land,  a  house  and  no 
rent,  and  half  pay  for  three  years,  the  consideration  being  a  few  days' 
drill  in  the  year,  and  permanent  service  in  the  case  of  some  great  emer- 
gency  We  believe  that  the  Legislature  of  Canada  would 

now  cheerfully  grant  millions  of  acres  of  wild  land  of  the  provinces,  to 
be  distributed  as  rewards  aniongt  the  soldiers  of  the  British  anny.  New 
Brunswick  and  Nova  Scotia  would  do  the  same.  If  Officers  and  Ser- 
geants at  the  present  time  engaged  in  the  recruiting  service,  were  enabled 
to  tell  those  classes  of  men  out  of  which  the  British  army  is  raised,  that 
at  the  termination  of  their  service  they  would  have  a  free  passage  to 
Canada,  a  free  grant  of  land,  and  money  enough  to  build  a  log  house  and 
to  clear  a  small  patch  of  land,  we  believe  that  there  would  be  no  dearth  of 
recruits.  This  plan,  we  are  persuaded,  would  be  more  effectual  than 
increased  bounty  of  double  pay.  If  a  system  of  military  colonization  can 
be  adopted  for  the  special  benefit  of  a  few  lucky  German  soldiers,  let  the 
same  experiment,  we  say,  be  tried  for  the  general  benefit  of  the  British 
army." 

This  scheme,  attractive  enough  at  first-sight,  is  the  most  positively 
suicidal  which  it  is  possible  to  propose.  Let  any  sensible,  patriotic  man 
ponder  it  well,  in  its  bearings  and  results,  and  we  feel  assured  liis  very 
blood  will  rise  within  him  when  he  thinks  of  it.  Why,  its  issue  must 
ultimately  l>e  to  draw  the  main  strength  of  the  country  out  of  it.  Just 
think  of  20,000  militia  men,  dmwn  from  *  the  peasantry,  the  artizans,  and 
the  working  men  of  the  three  kingdoms,*  serving  'for  a  limited  })eriod/ 
and  then  sent  off  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  their  servitude  in  a  distant  colony 
— just  think  of  this  sage  proposal  being  regularly  and  periodically  carried 
out,  and  where  would  the  bone  and  sinew  of  our  national  strength  be  in  a 
quarter  of  a  century  1  Toiling  away  in  the  *  free  land  '  of  Australia,  or 
hewing  down  the  forests  of  Canada. 


192 

We  humbly  submit  to  Lord  Palinerston  and  the  Mormu.fj  Post,  a  far 
more  likely  and  satisfactory  method  of  obtaining  militia.  There  are  hun- 
dreds of  thousands  of  acres,  capable  of  improvement,  but  lying  in  waste 
and  inutility  over  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  There  are  in  the  imme- 
diate neighborhood  tens  of  thousands  of  inhabitants,  living  in  poverty  and 
social  discomfort,  because  deprived  of  the  exercises  of  their  industrial  ener- 
gies, and  otherwise  prevented  from  rising  in  the  scale  of  social  beings. 
Well.  There  are  among  these  many  thousands  of  young  men  capable  of 
bearing  arms,  as  the  shores  of  Caithness  recently  testified,  and  whose 
fathei-s  and  grandfathers  fought  and  died  in  their  country *s  service  ;  but 
who  now  moodily  refuse  to  lift  a  weapon  in  the  same  service.  To  these 
the  offer  of  a  hundred,  fifty,  or  even  ten  acres  of  land  in  the  Highlands  to 
each  man,  with  Government  security  of  Tenure,  should  they  pay  reasona- 
ble rent  for  it,  would  be  a  stimulant  which  Palmerston,  or  his  aristocratic 
colleagues  never  took  into  consideration.  Any  other  decoyment  will  most 
assuredly  fail ;  for  we  can  tell  Lord  Palmerston  the  brightest  jewels  in 
Britain's  crown  would  not  awake  the  scintillation  of  an  enthusiastic  glance; 
but  we  most  surely  believe  that  could  Lord  Palmerston  prevail  on  certain 
Whig  Dukes  and  Lords  to  alter  their  treatment  of  their  tenantry,  and 
abrogate  the  policy  that  is  rapidly  making  the  north  and  north-west  of 
Scotland  a  prodigious  deer  forest,  there  would  soon  be  no  fear  of  raising 
militia  by  the  thousand. 

If,  for  example,  the  Duke  of  Sutherland,  the  husband  of  '  the  most 
influential  woman  in  Europe/  were  to  preclaim  from  the  Meikle  Ferry  to 
Cape  Wrath,  that  the  Loch  policy  is  to  cease  for  ever;  that  the  long  desolate 
Straths  of  Sutherland  are  to  be  peopled ;  that  the  humblest  tenant  in  the 
county  is  to  be  treated  to  a  lease  on  favorable  terms;  and  that  men  are  to 
be  henceforth  preferred  to  sheep  and  deer,  we  verily  believe  there  would 
be  kindled  in  that  county  an  amount  of  enthusiasm  which  it  never  before 
witnessed,  and  which  would  issue  in  the  raising  of  such  a  number  of 
recruits  as  would  astonish  even  the  versatile  aud  sanguine  premier 
himself. 

And  were  a  like  change  to  be  heralded  over  the  whole  Highlands  of 
Scotland,  a  corresponding  result  would  most  surely  follow.  We  assure  the 
Morning  Post  that  it  would  be  a  far  more  effectual  and  nationally  bene- 
ficial method  of  defending  Britain  than  casting  out  the  bait  of  grants  of 
land  on  foreign  shores,  and  tempting  men  to  fight  for  a  country  they 
are  destined  to  leave.  A  thousand  times  rather  let  the  government  buy 
up  the  myriads  of  profitless  acres  at  home,  give  presents  of  a  correspond- 
ing quantity  of  colonial  land  to  the  absentee  lands,  along  with  a  free 
passage,  and  give  the  land  at  home  as  a  present  to  recruits,  than  allow 
them  first  to  enrol,  and  then  pack  them  off  as  felons  to  Botany  Bay.  The 
fact  is,  the  home  country  stands  in  need  of  such  men,  instead  of  requiring 
them  to  emigrate  ;  and  we  see  no  scheme  half  so  likely  to  rear  a  race  of 
invincibles,  than  restoring  to  the  people  the  land  from  which  they  have 
been  cruelly  driven,  and  evicting  those  droves  of  deer  that  will  very  soon 
have  their  head-quarters  within  a  stone-throw  of  the  largest  towns,  if  the 
present  mania  continue  to  influence  many  purblind  and  selfish  landlords  of 


193 

the  Highlands  and  Islands.  The  country  can  want  most  of  its  Highland 
lairds,  but  it  can  not  safely  wsyit  its  Highland  inhabitants. — Northern 
Ejisif/n. 

What  do  you  think  of  my  Lord  Palmerston  ?  He  in  the  spirit  of  aris- 
tocratic liberality  will  allow  the  British  soldiers  equal  benefits  allowed 
German  mercenaries ;  yes.  my  Lord,  and  if  they  do  not  enrol  themselves 
upon  these  conditions,  send  the  press  gang,  and  the  ballot  box  among  them, 
handcuff  the  stubborn  fellows,  and  force  them  to  swear  by  God  to  fight 
for  the  East  India  Company,  that  they  may  retain  the  monopoly  of  the 
trade  of  that  boundless  territory,  and  charge  what  prices  they  please  for 
the  j)roduce;  a  fac  simile  of  how  the  unmeasurable  territories  of  valuable 
land  in  the  north-west  of  Canada  \yere  handed  over  to  the  Hudson  Bay 
Company,  to  enrich  a  few  villians  who  can  keep  up  the  price  of  skins 
and  fur,  that  the  working,  or  producing  classes,  to  whom  those  terri- 
tories belong,  cannot  purchase  tliem,  hence  deprived  of  the  comfort 
and  pleasures  of  wearing  them.  But  where  is  there  a  British  soldier 
to  be  found  who  will  not  frown  and  spit  with  disgust  upon  such 
propositions,  and  audacious  comparisons ;  yes,  British  soldiers,  and 
German  beggars  and  cowards,  to  be  equally  rewarded,  and  where 
is  a  British  young  man  to  be  found,  who  is  as  yet  a  freeman,  who 
will  volunteer  to  risk  his  life  to  fight  savages,  among  the  i)estilence, 
and  venomous  emanations  of  India,  with  no  better  prospect  before  him 
than,  that  should  he  escape  the  sword  of  the  Mahomedan,  and  Juggernaut 
savage,  and  plagues  of  India,  on  his  returnthome  to  be  packed  off  to  the 
wilds  of  Canada  to  cut  wood  during  the  remainder  of  his  life,  or  perish 
unprovided  and  uncared  for.  Monstrous  sophistry,  my  Lord  Palmerston; 
you  may  get  German  mercenaries,  as  you  call  them,  and  town  keelies  and 
desperadoes  to  fill  up  your  ranks,  and  manure  the  j)lains  of  India  U])on 
such  conditions,  but  not  Highland,  high-minded  Scotchmen,  and  God 
knows  that  the  British  nation  has  too  many  German  paupers  already  sad- 
dled upon  them  to  feed  and  clothe,  without  bringing  Legions  of  the 
beggarly  lowest  order  upon  them  to  feed  and  clothe.  The  fact  is,  if  I  am 
not  misinformed,  England  will  soon  have  the  whole  of  that  nursery 
or  kennel  of  Princes  to  keep  up  altogether.  Britain  had  to  pay  the 
king  of  Hanover  £21,000  salary  a  year,  it  is  said  that  was  3s.  9id.  more 
than  his  own  nation  could  afford  to  allow  him.  Then  our  own  beloved 
sovereign,  whose  hand  any  emperor  or  prince  in  Europe  would  be  proud 
to  obtain  unconditionally  ;  yet  Britain  had  to  negotiate  with  the  house  of 
Saxe  Coburg  and  Gotha,  and  settle  £30,000  per  year  upon  one  of  that 
family  to  become  her  husband ;  not  content  with  this,  he  was  raised  to  the 
rank  and  full  pay  of  field  mar8hall,and  colonel  of  two  or  three  regiments  so 
that  his  income  can  figure  no  less  than  sixty  or  seventy  thousand  |)ounds 
sterling  per  year,  besides,  as  T  am  told  £37,000  to  build  stables  for  his 
hoi-ses,  £1  r),0()0  to  build  a  kennel  for  his  dogs,  a  square  to  break  and  train 
them,  and  dwelling  houses  for  their  kooi)er8,  without  any  resi>onsibilitie8 
on  his  part,  whether  he  was  competent  to  discharge  the  duties  of  his 
various  offices  or  not.  We  have  now  a  young  Princess,  I  l)elieve  the  love- 
liest and  most  enticing  creatura  living;  another  hungry  German  Prince 

N 


194 

smelled  the  delicious  pie,  and  by  some  means  or  another  managed  to  pay 
his  passage  to  Dover,  and  it  is  said  that  a  Government  agent  paid  £2  16s. 
sterling  for  his  railway  fare  from  Dover  to  London  to  meet  his  spark.  It 
is  now  said  that  he  has  agreed  to  marry  our  lovely  Princess  on  condition 
that  she  gets  £50,000  to  fit  her  out,  and  that  he  gets  £41,000  annually 
during  her  life,  to  take  care  of  her,  and  if  she  should  die^  and  leave  a 
family,  that  suitable  provisions  should  be  made  to  maintain  them. 

Then  we  have  other  four  lovely  Princesses,  should  they  arrive  at  the 
age  of  matrimony,  as  I  hope  they  will,  they  must  be  divided  economically 
among  German  Princes  upon  similar  terms  no  doubt.  The  short  and  the 
long  of  it  is,  that  should  the  producing  classes  of  Britain  have  no  more 
taxes  to  pay  than  what  is  required  to  keep  up  Germans  and  their  brood 
of  the  high  order,  that  other  nations  would  consider  it  enormous,  leaving 
the  expenses  of  the  Legions  out  of  view.  Some  may  say,  that  I  lost  sight 
of  my  text,  "  Highland  Depopulation,^^  yet  by  looking  narrowly  into  the 
affair,  you  will  find  them  closely  connected  ;  robbery  is  robbery  by  what 
ever  way  it  is  perpetrated,  or  committed  ;  those  who  rob  the  nation  of 
their  money,  and  squanders  it  away  upon  other  nations,  are  to  a  certain 
extent  as  guilty  as  those  who  depopulated  the  nation,  and  disperses 
her  hones  and  sinews  to  the  four  winds  of  heaven,  but  not  so  bad.  The 
former  party  are  draining  the  nation  of  the  blood  and  sinews  of  commerce, 
hence  short-sighted  and  mischievous,  yet  a  nation  may  redeem  themselves 
from  the  disasters  which  their  wicked,  foolish,  profligate,  and  prodigal 
Government  bring  upon  them  in  this  way.  But  the  latter  party  drains 
away  blood  and  sinews  of  infinitely  more  value,  and  are  satanic  in  the 
extreme,  they  do  all  they  can  to  destroy  the  very  paladium  of  the  nation, 
which,  if  once  destroyed  can  never  be  redeemed — 


•*  Bold  peasantry  their  country's  pride, 
Once  destroyed  can  never  be  supplied." 


There  are  many  damnatory  features  in  their  schemes  and  conduct  that 
are  not  to  be  found  in  the  schemes  and  conduct  of  any  other  class  of  men 
under  heaven  ;  it  is  not  the  millions  of  brave,  patriotic,  and  industrious 
people  they  have  banished  or  expelled  from  Britain,  the  only  injury  they 
have  done  and  are  doing  to  the  nation,  they  have  beggared  the  rest  by 
forcing  the  peasantry  to  manufacturing  towns,  where  vice  and  crime  are 
in  the  ascendency  ;  they  have  glutted  the  labour  market,  so  that  the  work- 
ing classes  are  entirely  at  the  mercy  of  employers  who  can  take  advantage 
of  every  casualty  of  the  season,  of  every  stagnation  in  trade,  and  in  the 
money  market,  so  that  they  can  keep  the  poor  workers  continually  on 
starvation  wages.  They  do  still  worse,  if  that  could  be,  they  destroy  the 
confidence  which  should  exist  between  the  government  and  the  governed, 
they  are  alienating  the  minds  of  the  loyal  lieges  so  far,  that  in  a  few  years, 
if  matters  continue  to  go  on  as  they  do,  it  is  to  be  feared  that  the  peasantry 
and  working  classes  need  not  care  much  who  will  govern  them,  Napoleon,  the 
Czar,  thefooltyrantof  Austriaor  our  lovely  and  exemplary  Victoria.  They 
have  done  still  worse  and  worse,  they  have  undermined  the  Gospel  of  Sal- 
vation, they  have  filled  the  age  we  are  in  with  sceptics,  infidels,  and  athe- 


195 

ists  who  can  stand  now  before  even  the  sceptic  himself,  and  defend  Chris- 
tianity and  maintain  that  God  is  just,  holy,  and  impartial ;  he  will  tell  you 
at  once,  how  can  you  prove  that  when  he  is  always  on  the  side  of  the 
strong  and  the  rich,  and  never  interferes  in  behalf  of  the  poor  masses  nor 
aideth  them,  however  much  they  are  trodden  down  and  robbed  by  the  rich ; 
and  when  the  masses  will  withstand  their  robbing  rich,  and  demand  even 
a  portion  of  their  just  rights,  he  is  always  against  them,  and  will  allow 
the  rich  and  their  tools  to  hew  them  down  with  sabres,  and  blow  them 
to  atoms  with  cannons  and  bombshells.  These,  and  such  are  the  arguments 
the  sceptic,  infidel,  and  atheist,  will  advance ;  but  to  say  the  least,  this  class 
in  view,  abetted  by  the  clergy,  who  reversed  every  provision  God  made 
for  his  people,  and  abused  the  power  placed  in  their  hands,  I  say  has  done 
more  injury  to  the  cause  of  Christ,  and  Christianity  in  the  world,  than  all 
his  avowed  enemies  could  have  done.  What  think  you,  a  friend 
of  mine,  on  whose  veracity  I  can  place  confidence,  was  ti-a veiling 
in  the  West  Highlands,  and  spent  some  days  in  the  Isle  of  Skye,  one 
day  came  upon  a  party  of  women  who  were  cutting  down  and  col- 
lecting heather;  he  stood  a  short  time  speaking  to  them,  when  on  a 
sudden  a  party  of  gentlemen  appeared  upon  the  top  of  a  ridge  of  hills 
a  very  short  distance  from  the  heather  gatherers,  and  were  soon  among 
them  with  their  dogs  and  guns  ;  the  poor  women  had  by  this  time  had  their 
creels,  or  baskets  filled,  he  who  seemed  to  be  the  chief  the  gang,  asked 
haughtily,  "  what  are  you  cutting  and  taking  away  the  heather  for?"  the 
reply  was,  "please  your  Honour,  Ix)rd  Macdonald,  to  bed  our  cows,  to  pre- 
pare manure  for  our  potatoes."  In  an  instant  the  monster  was  engaged 
in  tramping  the  creels  to  atoms,  scattering  the  heather,  breaking  the  hooks 
or  scythes,  and  with  a  face  more  like  an  enraged  demon  than  a  lord,  told 
the  poor  women  to  go  to  hell  for  beds  to  their  cows,  and  manure  for  their 
potatoes,  if  they  chose,  but  if  they  would  dare  to  take  away  any  of  his 
gix)U8e*s  food  that  he  would  shoot  every  one  of  them ;  one  of  them  said, 
trembling,  "  Oh,  my  Lord,  we  are  paying  rent  for  this  hill,"  he  took  up 
his  gun  to  a  level  and  swore  that  he  would  shoot  her  if  she  said  another 
word  ;  the  poor  creature  let  herself  down  among  the  heather ;  his  Lordship 
and  party  left,  went  about  a  hundred  yards,  halted,  consulted  a  minute, 
turned  round,  levelled  their  pieces  at  the  women,  and  bawled  out,  "  you 
^-ill  be  all  shot  in  a  minute  ; "  the  i)Oor  creatures  then  ran  for  their  lives, 
which  seemed  to  afford  his  Lords/tip  and  his  party  of  English  gents  much 
amusement.  The  liendish  lord's  grandsires  at  one  period  of  our  Scottish 
history  disputed  the  crowji  of  Scotland  with  no  other  aid  but  his  own  clan, 
now  he  would  not  get  twenty  followers,  should  that  numlwr  gain  the  crown 
of  England  for  him;  you  speak,  McLeod,  not  without  a  cause,  of  the  poverty, 
deterioration,  and  subjugation  of  the  Sutherlanders,  and  the  tyranny  of 
their  Lords,  but  here  is  the  ultra  beyond  description,  and  thi*  poor  animal 
himself  is  drowned  in  debt,  every  inch  of  his  estates  are  encumbered, 
and  it  would  be  Vmt  justice  should  he  die  a  wretched  mendicant. 

I  have  made  many  quotations  from  many  e.xcellent  men  for  various 
reasons — I  take  to  myself  the  credit,  and  I  believ«  none  will  dispute  it 
with  me,  I  say  the  credit  of  breaking  the  ice  before  them  all,  that  in  bring 


196 

ing  the  short-sighted  policy  of  the  clearing  system,  with  its  direful  con- 
comitant results  before  the  world  ;  but  I  knew,  and  do  know  myself 
to  be  a  poor  man,  and  however  sincere  and  indefatigable  I  was  and  am 
in  the  cause,  that  there  is  not  much  credence  given  to  what  a  poor  man 
may  write,  say,  or  do — "  a  poor  man  saved  a  city  but  no  notice  was  taken 
of  him  because  he  was  a  poor  man," — Ecles,  chap.  9,  v.  xv  ;  yet  it  is  a  last- 
ing consolation  for  me  to  know  that  men  of  piety,  talent,  affluence  and  influ- 
ence made  a  searching  inquiry,  and  investigated  my  statement,  and  found 
thembeyondcontradiction — indeed  more  modified  and  short  of  what  should 
be  told.  Many  consultations  were  held  by  Sutherland  factors  and  sheep 
farmers  to  consider  whether  I  should  be  prosecuted  or  not ;  but  knowing 
that  they  had  truth  to  contend  Avith  in  taking  legal  steps  against  me — the 
resolution  that  I  was  so  insignificant  and  poor  that  few  if  any  would  believe 
what  1  was  writing  always  carried  the  majority,  and  poor  Donald  was  per- 
mitted to  proceed  with  impunity.  Silence  was  considered  by  my  enemies 
the  best  policy;  but  tl^ey  had  to  be  silent  since  before  the  world  when 
attacked  and  exposed  by  men  of  high  standing  in  Society,  whose  afflu- 
ence and  influence  put  them  beyond  suspicion  of  telling  ridiculous  false 
stories,  as  laid  to  my  charge  by  Mrs.  Stowe.  Annexed  is  an  extract 
taken  from  a  sermon  preached  by  an  English  divine,  I  wish  to  God 
many  more  of  his  order  would  follow  his  example.  What  prompted 
this  man  of  God,  whom  I  know  personally,  to  come  out  on  such 
a  theme  as  this  1  That  his  Divine  Master  demanded  it  of  his  hand,. 
to  denounce  the  oppressors  of  the  poor.  He  preached  the  sermon 
first ;  afterwards  he  was  told  that  the  statements  were  controverted — he 
then  corrsn^nded  with  Professor  Black,  and  finding  that  it  was  not  the 
case,  he  preached  the  same  sermon  over  again  with  emphasis  not  to  be 
disregarded. 

'  A  Sermon  for  the  Times,'  lately  preached  by  the  Rev.  Eichard 
Hibbs,  Church  of  England  clergyman,  Edinburgh,  contains  the  follow- 
ing exposure  of  Highland  depopulation  : — 

"  Take  then,  at  first,  the  awful  proof  how  far  in  oppression  men  can  go — 
men  highly  educated  and  largely  gifted  in  every  way — property,  talents,. 
all ;  for  the  most  part,  indeed,  they  are  so-called  noblemen.  What,  then, 
are  they  doing  in  the  Highland  districts,  according  to  the  testimony  of 
a  learned  professor  in  this  city  %  Why,  depopulating  those  districts  in 
order  to  make  room  for  red  deer.  And  how]  by  buying  off  the  cottars, 
and  giving  them  money  to  emigrate?  Not  at  all,  but  by  starving  them 
out ;  by  rendering  them  absolutely  incapable  of  procuring  subsistence 
for  themselves  and  families  ;  for  they  first  take  away  from  them  their 
small  apportionments  of  poor  lands,  although  they  may  have  paid  their 
rents  ;  and  if  that  do  not  suffice  to  eradicate  from  their  hearts  that  love 
of  the  soil  on  which  they  have  been  born  and  bred — a  love  which  the 
great  Proprietor  of  all  has  manifestly  implanted  in  our  nature — why, 
then,  these  inhuman  landlords,  who  are  far  more  merciful  to  their  very 
beasts,  take  away  from  these  poor  cottars  the  very  roofs  above  their 
defenceless  heads,  and  expose  them,  worn  down  with  age  and  destitute 


197 

of  everything,  to  the  inclemencies  of  a  northern  sky  ;  and  this,  forsooth, 
because  they  must  have  plenty  of  room  for  their  dogs  and  deer.  For 
plentiful  instances  of  the  most  wanton  barbarities  under  this  head  we 
need  only  point  to  the  Knoidart  evictions.  Here  were  perpetrated  such 
enormities  as  might  well  have  caused  the  very  sun  to  hide  his  face  at 
noonday." 

It  has  been  intimated  to  me  by  an  individual  who  heard  this  dis- 
course on  the  first  occasion  that  the  statements  referring  to  the  Highland 
landlords  have  been  controverted.  I  was  well  aware  long  before  the 
receipt  of  this  intimation,  that  some  defence  had  appeared  ;  and  here  I 
can  truly  say,  that  none  would  have  rejoiced  more  than  myself  to  find 
that  a  complete  vindication  had  been  made.  But,  unhappily;  the  case  is 
far  otherwise.  In  order  to  be  fully  acquainted  with  all  that  had  passed 
on  the  subject,  I  have  put  myself  during  the  week  in  communication 
with  the  learned  professor  to  whose  letter  which  appeared  some  months 
ago  in  the  7'imes,  I  referred.  From  him  I  leahi  t^t  none  of  his  state- 
ments were  invalidated — nay,  not  even  impugned  ;  and  he  adds,  that  to 
do  this  was  simply  impossible,  as  he  had  been  at  great  pains  to  \'erify 
the  facts.  All  tliat  could  l>e  called  in  question  was  the  theory  that  he  had 
based  upon  these  facts — namely,  that  evictions  were  made  for  the  pur- 
jx)se  of  making  room  for  more  deer.  This,  of  course,  was  ojxin  to  con- 
tradiction on  the  part  of  those  landlords  who  had  not  openly  avowed 
their  object  in  evicting  the  poor  Highland  families.  As  to  the  evictions 
themselves — and  tliis  was  the  main  point — no  attempt,  at  contradiction 
was  nuide.  • 

But  in  addition  to  all  that  the  benevolent  professor  has  n^lTOo  known 
to  the  civilized  world  under  this  head,  who  has  not  heard  of  'The  mas- 
sacre of  the  Rosses,  and  the  clearing  of  the  glens  1  I  hold  in  my  hand  a 
little  work  thus  entitled,  which  has  passed  into  the  second  edition.  The 
author  is  Mr  Donald  Ross—  a  gentleman  wliom  all  who  feel  sympathy 
for  the  downtrodden  and  oppressed  must  highly  esteem.  What  a  humi- 
liating picture  of  the  barbarity  and  cruelty  of  fallen  humanity  does  this 
little  book  present !  The  reader,  utterly  appalled  by  its  horrifying  state- 
ments, finds  it  difficult  to  retain  the  recollection  that  he  is  perusing  the 
history  of  his  own  times  and  country  too.  He  would  fain  yield  himself 
to  the  tempting  illusion,  that  the  ruthless  atrocities  which  are  depicted 
were  enacted  in  a  fabulous  period,  in  ages  long  piist ;  or,  at  all  events, 
if  it  be  contemporaneous  history,  that  the  scene  of  such  heart  rending 
cruelties,  tlie  perpetratoi-s  of  which  were  regartUess  alike  of  the  inno- 
cency  of  infancy  and  the  helplessness  of  old  age,  in  some  far  tlistant,  and 
■as  yet  not  njerely  unchristiani/ed,  but  wholly  savage  and  uncivilized 
region  of  our  globe.  But,  alas  !  it  is  Scotland  in  the  latter  half  of  the 
nineteenth  century,  of  which  he  treats.  One  feature  of  tlio  heart- 
harrowing  case  is  the  shocking  and  barbarous  cruelty  that  was  practised 
on  this  occasion  upon  the  Jhnaie  portion  of  the  evicted  clan.  Mr.  D. 
Ross,  in  a  letter  addressed  to  the  Right  Hon.  the  Loixl  Advocate,  Kdin- 
burgh,  dated  April  19,  1854,  thus  writes  in  reference  to  one  of  those 
•clearances  and  evictions  which  had  just  then  taken  place  under  the 


198 

authority  of  a  certain  Sheriff  of  the  district,  and  by  means  of  a  body  of 
policemen  as  executioners  : — *  The  feeling  on  this  subject,  not  only  in 
the  district,  but  in  SutherJandshire  and  Ross-shire  is,  among  the  great 
majority  of  the  people,  one  of  universal  condemnation  of  the  Sheriff's 
reckless  conduct,  and  of  indignation  and  disgust  at  the  brutality  of  the 
policemen.  Such,  indeed,  was  the  sad  havoc  made  on  these  females  on 
the  banks  of  the  Carron,  on  the  memorable  31st  March  last,  that  pools 
of  blood  were  on  the  ground — that  the  grass  and  earth  were  dyed  red 
with  it — that  the  dogs  of  the  district  came  and  licked  up  the  blood  ;  and 
at  last,  such  was  the  state  of  feeling  of  parties  who  went  from  a  distance 
to  see  the  field,  that  a  party  (it  is  understood  by  order  or  instructions 
from  head-quarters)  actually  harrowed  the  ground  during  the  night  to 
hide  the  blood  !' 

These  things  were  brouglit  to  light  during  the  recent  war  with  Russia  ; 
who  can  marvel  at  the  sympathising  author  thus  expressing  himself,, 
when  concluding  the  astonishing  account — 

'The  affair  at  Greenyard,  on  the  morning  of  the  31st  March  last,  is 
not  calculated  to  inspire  much  love  of  country,  or  rouse  the  martial  spirit 
of  the  already  ill-usod  Highlanders,  The  savage  treatment  of  innocent 
females  on  that  morning,  by  an  enraged  body  of  police,  throws  the 
Sinope  butchery  into  the  shade  ;  for  the  Ross-shire  Haynaus  have  shown 
themselves  more  cruel  and  more  blood-thirsty  than  the  Austrian  women- 
floggers.  What  could  these  poor  men  and  women,  with  their  wounds, 
and  scars,  and  broken  bones,  and  disjointed  arms,  stretched  on  beds  of 
sickness,  or  moving  on  crutches,  the  result  of  the  brutal  treatment  of 
them  by  the  police  at  Greenyard,  have  to  dread  from  the  invasion  of 
Scotland  by  Russia  V 

'  What,  indeed,'?  echo  back  these  depopulated  glens. 

But  enough  of  the  subject  of  clearances  and  evictions,  of  which  we 
had  not  originally  intended  to  say  so  much.  A  regard,  however,  to  the 
interests  of  truth  and  humanity,  which  we  are  sure  is  the  cause  of  God, 
of  God  even  the  Father  and  Redeemer  of  all,  as  revealing  Himself  in 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  has  constrained  us  to  notice  these  things  thus  far. 

The  publications  of  Mr  Ross  are  recommended  to  all  who  may  desire 
further  information  on  this  subject.  But  as  concerning  the  signs  of  the 
times  upon  M'hich  we  are  discoursing,  do  not  these  atrocities,  viewed  too 
as  complimentary  of  the  Knoidart  evictions,  demonstrate  that  we  are 
now  in  the  last  time,  at  the  end  of  the  age,  when,  from  the  beginning  of 
it,  it  was  prophetically  declared  that  '  men  shall  be  lovers  of  their  own 
selves,'  utterly  regardless  of  what  others  may  suffer  thereby. 

This  murderous  affair  at  Greenyard,  of  which  the  reverend  gentleman 
spoke,  was  so  horrifying  and  so  brutal  that  I  think  no  wonder  at  his 
delicacy  in  speaking  of  it,  and  directing  his  hearers  to  peruse  Mr.  Ross's 
pamj)hlet  for  full  information.  Mr.  Ross  went  from  Glasgow  to  Green- 
yard, Ross-shire,  to  investigate  the  case  on  the  spot,  and  found  that  Mr. 
Taylor,  a  native  of  Sutherland,  (well  educated  in  eviction  schemes  and 
murderous  cruelty  of  that  county)  and  Sheriff  substitute  of  Ross-shire, 
marched  from  Tain  upon  the  morning  of  the  31st  March  at  the  head  of 


199 

a  strong  party  of  armed  constables,  with  heavy  bludgeons  and  fire  anus, 
conveyed  in  carts  and  otlier  vehicles,  allowing  them  as  much  ardent  drink 
as  they  chose  to  take  before  leaving  and  upon  their  march,  so  as  to  qualify 
them  for  the  bloody  work  they  had  to  perform.  Fit  for  any  outi-age,  fully 
equipped,  and  told  by  the  Sheriff  to  shew  no  mercy  to  any  one  who 
would  oppose  them,  aud  not  allow  themselves  to  be  called  cowards, 
by  allowing  these  mountaineers  victory  over  them.  In  this  excited  half 
drunk  state  they  came  in  contact  with  the  unfortunate  women  of  Green- 
yard, who  were  determined  to  prevent  the  officers  from  serving  the  sum- 
mons of  removal  upon  them,  and  keep  their  holding  of  small  fanus 
where  they  and  their  forefathers  lived  and  died  for  generations.  But  no 
time  was  allowed  to  parley  ;  the  Sheriff  gave  the  order  to  clear  the  way, 
and  be  it  said  to  his  everlasting  disgrace  (but  to  the  credit  of  the  county 
of  Sutherland)  that  he  struck  the  first  blow  at  a  woman,  the  mother  of 
a  large  family,  and  large  in  the  family  way  at  the  time,  who  tried  to 
keep  him  back,  then  a  general  slaughter  commenced,  the  women  made 
noble  resistance,  until  the  bravest  of  them  got  their  arms  broken,  then 
they  gave  way.  This  did  not  allay  the  rage  of  the  murderous  brutes, 
they  contined  clubbing  at  the  protectless  creatures  until  every  one  of 
them  was  stretched  on  the  field  wallowing  in  their  blood,  or  with  broken 
amis,  riV)s,  and  bruised  limbs  ;  m  this  woeful  condition  many  of  them 
were  handcuffed  together,  others  tied  with  coai*se  ropes,  huddled  into 
cai-ts  and  carried  prisoners  to  Tain  jail.  I  have  seen  myself  in  the  pos- 
session of  Mr.  Ross,  Glasgow,  patches  or  scalps  of  the  skin  with  the  long 
hair  adhering  to  them,  which  was  found  upon  the  field  a  few  days  after 
this  inhuman  affray.  I  did  not  see  the  women,  but  1  was  told  that 
gashes  were  found  on  the  heads  of  two  young  females  prisoners  in  Tain 
jail,  which  exactly  corresponded  with  these  slices  or  scalps  I  have 
seen,  so  that  Sutherland  and  Ross-shire  may  boast  of  having  the  Nena 
Sahibs  and  his  Chiefs  some  few  years  before  India,  and  that  in  the  \wt- 
sons  of  some  whose  education,  training,  and  parental  example  should 
prejjare  their  minds  to  perform  and  act  differently.  Mr.  Donald  Ross 
placed  the  whole  affair  before  the  I^ord  Advocate  for  Scotlsnd,  but  no 
notice  was  taken  of  it  by  that  functionary,  any  further  than  that  the 
majesty  of  the  law  would  need  to  be  observed  and  attended  to. 

In  this  unfortunate  country,  you  see  the  law  of  God  and  humanity 
may  be  violated  and  trampled  under  foot,  but  the  law  of  wicked  men 
which  sanctions  murder,  rapine  and  robbery  must  be  observed.  From 
the  same  estate,  (the  estate  of  Robinson  of  Kindeas,  if  I  am  not  mistak(*n 
in  the  date)  in  the  year  1843  the  whole  inhabitants  of  Glencalve  were 
evicted  in  a  similar  manner,  and  so  unprovided  and  unprepared  were 
they  for  lemoval  at  such  an  inclement  season  of  the  ye-ar,  that  they  had 
to  shelter  themselves  in  a  Church  yard,  or  burying  ground.  I  have  seen 
myself  nineteen  families  within  this  gloomy  and  solitjiry  nesting  alnxie  of 
the  dead ;  they  were  there  for  months.  The  London  Timf^  sent  a  com- 
missioner direct  from  London  to  investigate  into  [this  case,  and  he  did 
his  duty ;  but  like  the  Sutherland  cases,  it  was  huslnnl  up  in  order  to 
maintain  the  majesty  of  the  law,  and  in  order  to  keep  the  right,  the 
majesty  of  the  people  and  the  laws  of  God  in  the  dark. 


200 

In  the  year  1819  or  20,  about  the  time  when  the  depopulation  of 
Sutherlandshire  was  completed,  and  the  annual  conflagration  of  burn- 
ing the  houses  ceased,  and  when  there  was  not  a  glen  or  strath  in  the 
country  to  let  to  a  sheep  farmer,  one  of  these  insatiable  monsters  of 
Sutherlandshire  sheep  farmers  fixed  his  eyes  upon  a  glen  in  Ross-shire, 
inhabited  by  a  brave,  hardy  race  from  time  immemorial.  Summons  of 
removal  were  served  upon  them  at  once.  The  people  resisted — a  mili- 
tary force  was  brought  against  them — the  military  and  the  women  of 
the  glen  met  at  the  entrance  to  the  glen — a  bloody  conflict  took  place, 
without  reading  the  riot  act  or  taking  any  other  precaution,  the  military 
fired  (by  the  order  of  Sheriff'  McLeod)  ball  cartridge  upon  the  women  ; 
one  young  girl  of  the  name  of  Matheson  was  shot  dead  on  the  spot,  many 
were  woundad.  When  this  murder  was  observed  by  the  survivors,  and 
some  young  men  concealed  in  the  back  ground,  they  made  a  heroic  sud- 
den rush  upon  the  military,  when  a  hand  to  hand  melee  or  tight  took 
place.  In  a  few  minutes  the  military  were  put  to  disorderly  flight ;  in 
their  retreat  they  were  unmercifully  dealt  with,  only  two  of  them  escaped 
with  heal  heads.  The  Sheriff^s  coach  was  smashed  to  atoms,  and  he 
made  a  narrow  escape  himself  with  a  heal  head.  But  no  legal  cogniz- 
ance was  taken  of  this  affair,  as  the  Sheriff"  and  the  military  were  the 
violators.  However,  for  fear  of  prosecution,  the  Sheriff"  settled  a  pension 
of  £6  sterling  yearly  upon  the  murdered  girl's  father,  and  the  case  was 
hushed  up  likewise.  The  result  was  that  the  people  kept  possession  of 
the  glen,  and  that  the  proprietor,  and  the  oldest  and  most  insatiable  of 
Sutherlandshire  scourges  went  to  law,  which  ended  in  the  ruination  of 
the  latter,  who  died  a  pauper. 

To  detail  individual  murders,  suff"erings  and  oppression  in  the  High- 
lands of  Scotland  would  be  an  endless  work.  A  few  months  ago  a  letter- 
from  Donald  Sutherland,  farmer,  West  Zorra,  Canada  West,  appeared  in 
the  Woodstock  Seutiue/,  detailing  what  his  father  and  family  suff'ered  at 
the  hands  of  the  Sutherlandshire  landlords  ;  all  the  offence  his  father 
was  guilty  of  was,  that  he  along  with  others  w^ent  and  remonstrated 
with  the  house  burners,  and  made  them  desist  until  the  people  could 
remove  their  families  and  chattels  out  of  their  houses  ;  for  this  off"ence 
he  would  not  be  allowed  to  remain  upon  the  estate.  He  took  shelter 
with  his  family  under  the  roof  of  his  father-in-law,  fi-om  this  abode 
he  was  exi)elled,  and  his  father-in-law  made  a  narrow  escape  from 
sharing  the  same  fate  for  affording  him  shelter.  He  was  thus  persecuted 
from  one  parish  to  another,  until  ultimately  another  proprietor,  Skibo, 
took  pity  upon  him,  and  permitted  him  in  the  beginning  of  an  extraordi- 
nary stormy  winter,  to  build  a  house  in  the  middle  of  a  bog  or  swamp, 
during  the  building  of  which,  he  having  no  assistance,  his  family  being 
all  young,  and  far  from  his  friends,  and  having  all  materials  to  carry  on 
his  back  the  stance  of  his  new  house  being  inaccessible  by  horses  or 
carts,  he,  poor  fellow,  fell  a  victim  to  cold  and  fever,  and  a  combination 
of  other  troubles,  and  died  before  the  house  was  finished,  leaving  a 
widow  and  six  fatherless  children  in  this  half-finished  hut,  in  the  middle 
of  a  swamp,  to  the  mercy  of  the  world.     Well  might  Donald   Suther- 


•JO  I 

land,  who  was  the  oldest  of  tlie  family,  and  who  recollects  what  his 
father  suffered,  and  of  his  death,  (I  say),  charge  the  Sutherland  family 
and  their  tools  with  the  murder  of  his  father. 

But  many  were  the  liundreds  who  suffered  alike  and  died  similar 
deaths  in  Sutherlandshire  during  the  wholesale  evictions  and  house 
burninn^s  of  Sutherlandshire.  But  I  must  now  cease  to  unpack  my  heart 
upon  these  revolting  scenes  and  gloomy  memories.  I  know  many  will 
say  that  I  have  dealt  too  hard  with  the  house  of  Sutherland, — that  such 
disclosures  as  I  have  made  cannot  be  of  any  public  service — that  the 
present  Duke  of  Sutherland  is  a  good  man,  and  that  in  England  he  is 
called  the  Good  Duke.  I  have  in  my  own  unvarnished  way  broujjht  t<> 
light  a  great  amount  of  inhumanity,  foul  unconstitutional  and  barbarous 
atrocities,  committed  and  perpetrated  in  his  name,  and  in  the  name  of 
his  parents,  and  by  their  authority.  1  stand  by  these  as  stern  facts.  Now 
I  call  upon  his  Grace's  and  predecessors'  sympathisers  and  apologisei-s  to 
say  and  point  out  to  nje  one  public  or  private  act  performed  by  any  of 
the  family  which  should  entitle  his  present  Grace  to  be  called  the  Good 
Duke.  I  have  myself  looked  earnestly  and  impartially  for  such  acts  ;  but 
could  find  none,  no,  not  one.  I  know  he  never  killed  or  even  struck  a 
man  or  women  in  his  lifetime,  nor  set  tire  to  a  house  where  a  bedridden 
woman  was  lying  disabled  by  age  and  intirmities  to  escape  from  the 
flames,  he  needed  not  while  (as  I  said  before)  Loch,  Young,  Sellar,  Suther, 
Ounn,  Leslie,  Horsburg,  and  Maclvor,  were  ap])ointed  by  him  to 
advise  and  superintend  the  work  of  brutal  destruction  and  while  the 
Stobbs  and  Sgrioses,  «tc.  were  at  their  beck  to  execute  their  orders  at 
2s.  6d.  sterling  per  day  and  their  whiskey.  The  Duke's  unassuming, 
modest,  and  sheepish  like  appearance  will  not  entitle  him  to  the  apj>ela- 
tion  of  the  Good  Duke  ;  neither  will  his  meek,  easily  approached  man- 
ners, and  readiness  to  hear  poor  people's  complaints  entitle  him  to  the 
title — for  1  demand  of  you  to  point  one  complaint  of  any  importance 
which  he  redn-ssed,  and  I  will  give  you  and  him  credit  for  it.  The 
poor  never  realized  any  relief,  nor  beneHt  from  his  interpositions,  or  from 
the  thousand  appeals  they  made  to  him  ;  but  tlie  reverse  left  them 
more  exposed  to  the  wrath  and  fury  of  their  oppressors,  his  factoi's. 

What  then  constitutes  his  right  to  the  appelation  of  the  Good  Duke.  I 
admit  that  the  is  not  so  inhuman,  nor  so  brutal  a  savage  as  Lord  Macdonald, 
Duke  of  At  hoi,  Breadalbane,  Colonel  Gordon,  of  Clunny,  and  many  more 
Highland  landlords,  but  that  does  not  constitute  the  appelation  good  Duke  : 
to  be  more  human  than  these  would  make  him  only  a  little  l>ett«r  than 
incdttiate  (lenwns  or  an  host  of  Nena  tSti/ubs.  My  views  of  rights  of 
property  in  land  are  open  to  criticism;  I  wish  they  may  l)e  criticised,  and 
that  properly,  for  I  find  that  under  that  cui-scd  law  whicli  affords  every 
opportunity  to  stupid  kings  and  queens,  their  selfish  ambitious  govern 
ment,  and  profligate  avaricious  favourites  and  capitalistw  in  the  days  of 
old,  to  monopolize  tlie  land,  created  by  God  for  the  people  without  excep- 
tion, are  now  in  full  operation  in  the  Canadas ;  I  find  your  government 
handing  large  slices  of  the  Cana<la  lands  over  to  one  another,  and  to 
favourite  individuals  and  companies,  as  free  as  Malcolm  Ceanmor,  King  of 


202 

Scotland,  handed  estates  to  his  favourites  in  the  tenth  century,  in  his  own 
word,  "  as  free  as  God  gave  it  to  nie  and  mine,  I  give  it  to  you  and  yours." 
But  my  Canadian  readers  the  days  are  coming  and  approaching  when  there 
will  be  a  scramble  for  laud  in  the  Canadas,  as  sure  as  it  was  and  is  in  all 
European  nations,  and  I  tell  you  that  this  is  the  age  and  years,  when 
you  should  enquire  and  study  the  rights  of  property  in  land;  particularly 
what  right  has  your  own  servants,  tJie  Government^  to  gift  or  traffic  with 
monopolisers  in  your  land,  and  what  right  have  you  to  abide  by  the  traffic- 
ing  covenants  of  stupid  kings  and  queens,  and  insane  Governments  who 
deprive  you  and  your  offspring  of  such  immense  territories  as  the  Hudson 
Bay  Company  now  possess.  Let  it  not  be  recorded  that  the  Canadians  of  the 
19th  century  will  allow  the  egregious  spoliation  to  continue  or  remain  un- 
corrected, yea^  undemolished,  for  while  it  remains  undemolished  minor 
spoliations  will  increase  ;  indeed  to  all  appearance  there  are  very  few  who 
are  entrusted  with  the  law  making  and  government  of  the  Canadas,  who 
entereitherof  the  Houses  with  that  patriotic  spirit  which  should  constitute 
members  of  parliament.  It  is  to  be  feared,  indeed  it  is  too  evident,  that  sel- 
fishness, and  how  to  better  themselves  and  relations  at  the  people's  expense 
are  their  motives  and  principle  study  while  acting  for  the  people.  I  say, 
O  !  Canadians  watch  and  look,  as  well  as  pray,  generations  yet  unborn 
demand  it  of  you. 

Mrs.  Harriet  Beecher  Sto we  may  be  very  ill-pl  eased  at  my  animadversions, 
and  may  consider  that  I  went  too  far  with  my  strictures  upon  her  Sunny 
Memories.  ''  Those  to  whom  much  are  given  much  will  be  required  of 
them  ;"  I  have  no  priva.te  spleen  or  animosity  against  that  amiable,  talented 
lady,  but  I  could  nor  cannot  be  but  sorry  for  her  merchandising  the 
gift  of  God  ;  will  that  lady,  however  great  her  talents  are,  come  out  now 
in  the  face  of  such  a  cloud  of  witnesses,  and  corroborating  evidence  as  she 
will  find  within  this  little  volume  and  say  and  maintain  that  I  have  been 
circulating  unfounded  false  accusations  against  the  Duchess  and  house  of 
Sutherland ;  well  let  her  peruse  the  following  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Mackie, 
Editor  of  the  Northeiii  Ensign^  a  paper  published  next  county  to  Suther- 
land, and  say  what  praise  she  can  lavish  upon  that  family. 

WELL   DONE,   BRAVE   HIGHLANDS. 

(From  the  Northern  Ensign.) 

There  is  not  a  man  in  the  civilized  world  who  does  not  admire  the  energy 
daring,  perseverence  and  bravery  of  the  glorious  78th,  in  their  victorious 
march  against  the  Indian  mutineers.  Every  official  dispatch  and  every 
private  letter  concur  in  proclaiming  that  those  'brave  Highlanders'  have 
not  only  done  their  duty,  and  done  it  well,  but  have  given  another  proof 
to  the  world  of  the  value  of  such  troops  in  circumstances  of  crisis  and  peril. 
Even  General  Havelock,  tied  down  by  military  and  official  restraint,  seems 
to  have  thrown  aside  reserve,  and  to  have  exclaimed,  in  the  hearing  of  his 
gallant  companions  in  arms,  'Well  done,  brave  Highlanders!'  The  country 
re-echoes  the  cry.  It  is  heard  from  the  Himalaya  Mountains  to  the  Gulf 
of  Manaar,  and  strikes  terror  in  the  breasts  of  the  fiendish  revolters.    It  is 


203 

heard  in  every  hamlet  in  the  British  Isles.  The  press  and  the  platform 
catch  the  echo,  and  with  giant  tone  swell  the  strain,  *  well  done,  bi-ave 
Highlanders'  have  called  forth  such  eulogistic  exclamaiion.  Even  Na|K)- 
leon  himself,  as  he  saw  the  phalanx  of  Scotch  Greys  at  the  hattle  of  Water- 
loo, could  not  resist  a  similar  tribute;  and  the  despatches  of  the  Peninsular 
and  other  wars,  down  to  the  recent  Crimean  campaign,  where  Alma,  Bala- 
clava, and  Inkerman  were  fought  testify  to  the  same.  All  modern  warlike 
history,  from  the  reljel lion  in  1715  to  the  Cawnpore  massacre  in  1857, 
teems  with  the  record  of  Highland  bravery  and  prowess.  What  say  our 
highland  evicting  lairds  to  these  facts,  and  to  their  treatment  of  the  High- 
lander '?  What  reward  have  these  men  received  for  saving  their  country, 
fighting  its  battles,  conquering  its  enemies,  turning  the  tide  of  revolt,  rescu- 
ing women  and  children  from  the  hands  of  Indian  fiends,  and  establishing 
order  whendisorderand  bloody  cruelty  have  held  their  murderous  carnival  J 
And,  we  ask,  in  the  name  of  men  who  have,  ere  now,  we  fondly  hoi)e,  saved 
our  gallant  countrymen  and  heroic  countrywoman  at  Lucknow  ;  in  the 
name  of  those  who  fought  in  the  trenches  of  Sebastopool.and  proudly  plant- 
ed the  British  standard  on  the  heights  of  the  Alma,  how  are  they,  their 
fathers,  brothers,  and  little  ones  treated?  Is  the  mere  shuttlecocking  of  an 
irrepressible  cry  of  admiration  from  mouth  to  mouth,  and  the  setting  to 
music  of  a  song  in  their  praise,  all  the  return  the  race  is  to  get  for  such 
noble  acts?  We  can  fancy  the  expression  of  admiration  of  Highland  bra- 
very at  the  Dunrobin  dinner  table,  recently,  when  the  dukes,  earls,  lords, 
and  other  aristocratic  notables  enjoyed  princely  hospitality  of  the  Duke. 
We  can  imagine  the  mutual  congratulation  of  the  IJighland  lairds  as  they 
prided  themselves  on  being  proprietors  of  the  soil  which  gave  birth  to  the 
race  of  'Highland  heroes. '  Alas,  for  the  blush  that  would  cover  their  faces 
if  they  would  allow  themselves  to  reflect  that  in  their  names,  and  by  their 
authority,  and  at  their  expense,  the  fathers,  mothers,  brothers,  wives,  of 
the  invincible  *  78th '  have  been  remorselessly  driven  from  their  native  soil , 
and  at  the  very  hour  when  Cawnpore  was  gallantly  retaken,  and  the 
ruflian  Nena  Sahib  was  obliged  to  leave  the  bloody  scene  of  his  fiendish 
massacre,  there  were  Highlanders  within  a  few  miles  of  the  princely  Dun- 
robin,  driven  from  their  homes  and  left  to  starve  and  to  die  in  the  open 
field.  Alas,  for  the  blush  that  would  reprint  its  scarlet  dye  on  their  proud 
faces  as  they  thought  in  one  country  alone,  since  Waterloo  was  fought, 
more  than  14,000  of  this  'race  of  heroes,'  of  whom  Canning  so  proudly 
lK)asted,  have  been  hunted  out  of  their  native  homes;  and  that  where  the 
pibroch  and  bugle  once  evoked  the  martial  8|)irit  of  thousands  of  bravo 
hearts,  razed  and  burning  cottages  have  formed  the  tragic  close  of  scenes  of 
eviction  and  desolation ;  and  the  abodes  of  a  loyal  and  liberty-loving  people 
are  made  sacred  to  the  rearing  of  sheep,  and  sanctified  to  the  preservation 
of  game  !  Yes;  we  echo  back  the  cry,  *  Well  done  brave  Highlanders!' 
But  to  what  purpose  would  it  be  carried  on  the  wings  of  the  wind  to  the 
once  happy  straths  and  glens  of  Sutherland  1  Who,  what,  would  echo 
back  our  acclaims  of  praise  1  Perhaps  a  shepherd's  or  a  gillie's  child, 
playing  amid  the  unbroken  wilds,  and  innocent  of  seeing  a  human  face 
but  that  of  its  own  parents,  would  hear  it;  or  the  cry  might  startle  a  herd 


204 

of  timid  deer,  or  frighten  a  covey  of  patridges,  or  call  forth  a  bleat  from  a 
herd  of  slieep ;  but  men  would  not,  could  not,  liear  it.  We  must  cjo  to  the 
back-woods  of  Canada,  to  Detroit,  to  Hamilton,  to  Woodstock,  to  Toronto, 
to  Montreal ;  we  must  stand  by  the  waters  of  Lake  Huron,  or  Lake  Ontario, 
where  the  cry — '  Well  done,  brave  Highlanders  !'  would  call  up  a  thousand 
brawny  fellows,  and  draw  down  a  tear  on  a  thousand  manly  cheeks.  Or 
we  must  go  to  the  bare  rocks  that  skirt  the  sea  coast  of  Sutherland,  where 
the  residuary  population  were  (jenerovslij  treated  to  barren  steeps  and  in- 
hospital  shores  on  which  to  keep  up  the  breed  of  heroes,  and  fight  for  tho 
men  who  dared — dared — to  drive  them  from  houses  for  which  they  fought, 
and  from  land  which  was  purchased  with  the  blood  of  their  fathers.  But 
the  cry,  *  Well  done,  brave  Highlanders,'  would  evoke  no  effective  response 
from  the  race.  Need  the  reader  wonder  ?  Wherefore  should  they  tight  1 
To  what  ])nrpose  did  their  fathers  climb  the  Peninsular  heights,  and  glori- 
ously write  in  blood  the  superiority  of  Britain,  when  their  sons  were  re- 
warded by  extirpation,  or  toleration  to  starve,  in  sight  of  fertile  straths  and 
glens  devoted  to  beasts  I  These  are  words  of  truth  and  soberness.  They 
are  but  repetitions  in  other  forms  of  arguments,  employed  by  us  for 
years  ;  and  we  shall  continue  to  ring  changes  on  them  so  long  as  our  brave 
Highland  people  are  subjected  to  treatment  to  which  no  other  race  would 
have  submitted.  We  are  no  alarmists.  But  we  tell  Highland  proprietors 
that  were  Britain  some  twenty  years  hence  to  have  the  misfortune  to  be 
l^lunged  into  such  a  crisis  as  the  present,  there  will  be  few  such  men  as  the 
Highlanders  of  the  78th  to  fight  her  battles,  and  that  the  country  will  find 
when  too  late,  if  another  policy  towards  the  Highlanders  is  not  adopted, 
that  sheep  and  deer,  ptarmigan  and  grouse,  can  do  little  to  save  it  from 
such  a  calamity. 

EVICTION  BY  FIRE  IN  SUTHERLA.ND. 

Once  more  has  the  fire  been  kindled  in  Sutherland,  to  carry  out  the 
exterminating  theories  of  the  Loch  policy.  Confessing  most  heartily  that 
notwithstanding  all  the  antecedents  of  that  system  in  Sutherland,  we  are 
not  prepared  for  this  recent  case,  we  proceed  to  lay  before  our  readers  its 
leading  facts  : — 

"It  will  be  remembered  that  on  the  7th  of  June  last  an  industrious  cottar 
named  Don  Murray,  with  his  aged  sister,  and  two  little  motherless  girls  were 
ejected  from  the  hut  which  they  had  occu])ied  for  many  years.  After  lying 
for  sometimes  in  the  o])en  air,  the  Rev.  Mr.  MacKellar,  parish  minister  of 
Clyne,  gave  them  the  use  of  a  cart  shed,  which  they  continued  to  occupy 
from  the  date  of  eviction  till  Saturday  the  17th  of  this  month,  their  little 
bits  of  furniture  meanwhile  lying  in  the  open  air.  In  the  meantime  it 
Avas  found  that  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  had  no  right  to  the  cot  from  which 
Murray  and  his  family  were  ejected  ;  and  that  it  stood  on  glebe  land,  and 
a  case  was  entered  in  the  Court  of  Session.  Acting  under  advice,  Murray 
and  his  family  ag§iin  took  possession  of  the  hut,  along  with  part  of  their 
furnituie,  on  the  date  referred  to,  and  immediately  on  this  being  done  the 
machinery  was  set  in  order  for  a  second  eviction.  Accordingly,  on  the 
forenoon  of  Tuesday  last,  public  attention  was  attracted  to  a  dense  volume 


205 

of  smoke  rising  from  the  neighbourhood  of  the  manse  of  Clyne,  and  it  was 
soon  found  that  Murray's  cabin  was  on  fire,  and  that  workmen  werfr 
actively  employed  in  the  demolition  of  its  rude  walls,  the  Magnus  A pi)olo 
of  the  patriotic  and  humane  labour  of  love  being  Mr.  Patrick  M'Giblx)n, 
Golspie,  who,  with  crowbar  in  hand,  and  "with  a  heart  of  will,  wrought  in 
the  good  cause  with  astonishing  energy,  assisted  (?)  by  a  John  Thomson, 
cartwright  in  Golspie,  and  a  youth  of  some  fifteen  summei-s,  glorying  in 
the  name  of  Mackay.  The  worthy  three  persevered  in  the  ducal  mission  till 
the  miserable  hut  was  razed  to  the  ground.  Part  of  the  poor  creature's 
furniture  was  soon  scattered  here  and  there.  A  correspondent  who  wit- 
nessed the  most  part  of  the  proceedings  says  : — ''  I  stood  for  a  brief  period, 
surveying  the  progress  of  the  Hames  and  the  torch-bearers,  and  then  turned 
away  in  disgust  from  the  scene,  with  the  reverberation  of  H.M.S.  Pein- 
brokts  guns  ringing  in  my  ears,  and  thoughts  occupying  my  mind  that 
my  pen  fails  to  describe ;  but  thanking  my  jMaker  that  I  was  not  born  a 
Duke  and  left  to  tarnish  a  ducal  coronet  by  such  a  deed  of  inhumanity.  I 
again  passed  the  spot  when  the  work  was  finished.  The  walls  were  com- 
pletely levelled,  and  the  timbers  were  still  burning  ;  while  the  master  of 
the  ceremonies  was  retiring  to  a  streamlet  hard  by,  to  wash  his  dirty  hands. 
The  outcasts  had  again  to  betake  themselves  to  the  cart  shed,  kindly  given 
to  them  by  the  minister  of  Clyne,  every  other  person  in  the  district  being 
afraid  to  do  anything  for  them,  or  show  them  any  kindness,  dreading  that 
for  the  simplest  act  of  humanity  towards  one  of  the  family  they  would  be 
similarly  treated.  I  may  add  that  the  blankets  that  Murray's  sister  had 
lying  on  her  straw  pallet  were  burned." 

To  His  Grace  the  Duke  of  Sutheland  : 

May  it  please  your  Grace, — 

Such  is  the  last  act  of  eviction  perpetrated  in  the  name  and  by  the 
authority  of  your  Grace.  We  do  not  now  enter  upon  the  question  of  right 
of  property  involved  in  this  case,  and  pending  before  the  legal  tribunals 
of  the  country;  but  admitting  that  your  Grace  were  found  to  be  the  owner 
of  the  few  square  feet  of  valueless  soil  on  which  that  hut  stood,  we  ask 
your  Grace,  firmly,  plainly,  and  lK)ldly,  if  it  is  like  a  **good  Duke"  to 
commit  such  an  act  of  high  handed  cruelty  and  indefencible  s|>oliation  1 
Would  it  have  weakened  the  case  before  the  court  had  your  Grace  allowed 
that  poor  man  with  his  sister  and  little  girls,  quietly  to  occupy  their 
HOME — a  home  of  |)eace,  contentment,  and  atlbction,  as  deep,  as  sincere, 
as  lasting,  as  devoted  as  Dunrobin's  palatial  halls  can  boast  of — until  at 
least  it  is  decided  that  your  Grace  had  a  legal  right  to  burn  them  out  ? 
Would  it  have  diminished  your  Grace's  happiness  ;  would  it  have  dimmed 
the  lustre  of  your  Grace's  coronet ;  would  it  have  infinitessimally  neu- 
tralised your  Grace's  influence  ;  would  it  have  redounded  to  your  Grace's 
discredit,  that  you  had  allowed  these  poor  creatures  to  return  and  occupy 
the  little  cot  which  you  have  now  bui-ned  and  raised  t  A  thousand  times, 
No  I !  My  Lord  Duke,  your  Grace  seems  to  be  forgetful,  totally  oblivious, 
sadly  neglectful,  of  the  times  and  their  signs.     We  are  not  now  living  in 


206 

the  seventeenth  century.  This  is  eighteen  hundred  and  fifty-seven,  whether 
your  Grace  pleases  or  no,  with  its  enlightenment,  its  independence,  its  free 
press  (thank  God  !)  and  its  noble  tendencies  to  respect  the  principles  before 
persons.  Remember,  my  Lord  Duke,  what  you  have  done,  and  where. 
You  have  burned  out  a  native  of  Sutherland,  with  his  little  girls;  cast  them 
into  the  open  field  till  a  good  Samaritan  allowed  them  the  use  of  a  cart 
shed,  at  a  time  when  public  sentiment  is  being  thoroughly  aroused  to  the 
indescribable  and  momentous  importance  of  doing  everything  to  encou- 
rage the  peasantry  of  this  country,  and  to  secure  their  services  in  the 
nation's  cause  at  this  deeply  perilous  crisis.  At  the  very  time  when  the 
national  ear  is  kept  in  a  state  of  painful  tension,  almost  hearing  the  voice 
of  our  brothers'  and  sisters'  blood,  spilled  in  oceans  on  the  plains  of  Hin- 
dostan  and  calling  on  Britain  to  send  relief;  and  when  we  almost  see  the 
smoke  of  desolation  rising  from  revolted  Indian  provinces,  all  of  a  sudden, 
the  smoke  of  a  burning  cottage  is  seen  in  Sutherland,  and  a  wail  of  house- 
less, homeless,  burned  out  females  is  heard  from  a  Scotch  county  which 
boasts  its  possessor  to  be  the  husband  of  the  mistress  of  Queen  Victoria's 
robes.  What  a  state  of  matters  !  Look  at  it,  my  Lord  Duke  of  Suther- 
land. It  cannot,  it  must  not  last.  We  refrain  from  implicating  in  its 
vileness  and  guilt  even  the  humblest  serf  that  dared  to  soil  his  fingers  with 
the  dark  deed.  The  blame,  the  responsibility  is  yours.  There  it  rests, 
in  all  its  effects  and  in  all  its  forbidden  features.  Your  Grace  may  calmly 
sit  in  your  gilded  saloon,  surrounded  by  a  loving  family,  with  your  fair 
children  prattling  on  your  knee ;  your  Grace's  sycophantic  followers  and 
servile  hangers-on  may  adroitly  conceal  from  your  Grace  these  and  similar 
proceedings  under  your  name,  at  your  instance,  and  at  your  expense  ;  but 
the  smoke  of  Donald  Murray's  cabin  shall  not  soon  die  away ;  the  cries  of 
Donald  Murray's  children  shall  find  an  echo ;  and  on  the  wings  of  the 
wind  shall  be  carried  the  report  of  this  last  high-handed  act  of  oppression 
and  spoliation. 

Now  my  dear  countrymen  my  labour  is  near  an  end,  for  if  my 
health  continues  to  decline  as  rapid  as  it  has  been  doing  for  some  time 
back,  my  pen  is  laid  down  never  again  to  be  taken  up.  So  far  as  the 
Almighty  favoured  me  with  abilities,  I  did  not  swerve  from  performing 
my  duty  to  society  even  in  the  face  of  persecution,  oppression,  privation, 
and  the  forsaking  of  dear  friends  and  patrons;  the  most  part  of  my 
labours  are  now  before  you  under  its  deserved  title.  Gloomy  Memories. 
Gloomy  as  they  are,  and  thoroughly  open  to  criticism,  I  challenge  con- 
tradiction to  any  one  charge  I  have  made  against  the  House  of  Sutherland 
or  any  other  depopulating  house  in  the  Highlands  of  Scotland.  Come 
then  Mrs.  B.  Stowe,  come  you  literary  scourges  and  apologisers  of  high- 
land evictors,  vindicate  their  ungodly  and  unconstitutional  schemes  and 
actions  before  the  world  now  if  you  dare.  Who  have  you  attempted  to 
crush?  The  sincere  advocates  of  the  Caledonian  Celtic  race  and  the 
exposers  of  their  enemies.  Who  have  you  been  calumniating  in  their 
moral  and  religious  character,  in  their  brave  and  chivalrous  spirit,  so  cha- 
ractersitic  of  the  race,  who  would,  if  you  could,  make  the  world  believe 
that  they  were  not  half  so  valuable  to  the  nation  as  sheep  and  red  deer. 


207 

And  unworthy  of  a  home  in  Caledonia,  the  nursery  of  bravery  and  gallant 
«n conquerable  warriors.  You  vi\e  sycophants,  did  you  ever  consult 
General  Abercrombe  in  Egypt,  General  Moore  at  Corunna,  Wellington 
in  the  Peninsula,  and  at  Waterloo,  did  you  consult  Lord  Raglan  in  the 
Grimea,  when  proclaiming  the  taking  of  the  Alma,  by  the  Highland  Bri- 
gade, and  their  intrepid  bold  stand  l^efore  the  Russian  cavalry  at  Bala- 
clava, when  the  fate  of  the  British  army  depended  that  day  upon  their 
l)ravery.  What  would  all  the  legions  of  German  ])oltroons,  all  the  deer- 
stalking snobs  of  England  and  Scotland,  shepherds  and  dogs  to  boot, 
Avail  Lord  Raglan  and  the  British  army  that  day;  What  deprived  the 
British  army  and  Generals  of  the  praise  of  taking  Sebastopol  1  That  the 
Highland  Brigade  under  Colin  Cami)bell  were  not  brought  forward  to 
the  first  day's  assault,  they  were  brought  up  next  day,  but  the  Russians 
came  to  learn  who  they  would  have  to  deal  with  the  second  day  and  fled. 
You  hired  calumniatoi-s,  oppressors,  and  dispersers  of  the  Celtic  race, 
did  you  consult  General  Havelock,  who  it  seems  never  witnessed  the 
undaunted  bravery  and  prowess  of  Scottish  Highlanders  before,  and  ask 
him  what  made  him  exclaim  "Well  done,  biave  Highlanders  T  How  many 
German  cowards  and  town  keelies  or  loafei*s  would  he  take  in  exchange 
for  this  handful  of  brave  Celts  under  his  command.  He  would 
not  accept  of  twenty  to  one.  Did  you  consult  the  Genemls,  and  Com- 
manders-in-chief of  the  British  Army  at  the  present  time,  and  they  would 
tell  you,  however  numerous  and  strong  an  army  sent  out  upon  an  emer- 
gency minus  of  a  Highland  Brigade,  that  that  army  is  deficient,  and  uncer- 
tain of  success.  To  enumerate  the  many  victories  and  laurels  the  Celtic 
race  gained  for  ungrateful  Britain  would  be  an  easy  task,  had  history  done 
them  justice  ;  but  when  put  to  the  test  their  enemies  will  find  it  a  dillicult 
task  to  point  out  where  they  have  failed  to  gain  victory  where  bravery 
could  obtain  it.  If  the  few  of  these  men  now  embodied  in  two  or  three 
regiments  are  gaining  and  daserving  the  admiration  of  the  world,  what 
if  13ritain  could  boast  of  from  50,000  to  70,000  of  such  men,  who  would 
make  her  afraid  ?  But  alas,  the  Caledonian  nursery,  by  proper  treat- 
ment, I  aver,  from  which  she  could  raise  that  number  in  time  of  need, 
is  now  a  desolation,  consigned  to  feed  and  rear  brute  animals.  Our 
beloved  Queen  taking  up  her  residence  in  the  Highlands  during  the 
•deer-stalking  months  of  the  year,  has  turned  up  a  curse  for  the  remainder 
of  the  jieople,  since  then  the  country  is  fast  becoming  one  vast  Deer 
Forest.  Oh  !  my  lady  Queen,  you  should  show  the  cruel  monsters  a  bel- 
ter example,  than  to  chase  away  the  few  Highlanders  you  have  found 
upon  the  Balmoral  Estate. 

Come,  then,  you  calumniators  of  my  people,  apologisers  of  their  des- 
troyers, and  extirpators  from  their  own  rightful  soil — I  conclude  by  call- 
ing upon  every  British  subject,  every  lover  of  justice,  every  sympathifler 
with  suffering  humanity,  to  disapprove  of  such  unconstitutional  and 
ungodly  doings,  and  to  remonstrate  with  the  Queen  and  Government, 
HO  as  to  put  an  end  to  such  systems.  Call  you  u])on  the  world  to 
vindicate  and  exonerate  them. 


208 

1  am  now  an  old  man  bordering  on  seventy  years  of  age  ;  symptoms 
of  decay  in  the  tabernacle  convinces  me  that  my  race  through  time  towaVds 
eternity  is  near  at  an  end,  when  I  will  have  to  give  an  account  for  what  I 
Avrite  and  leave  on  record.  I  hdve  devoted  the  most  of  this  time  and  the 
limited  talents  God  has  bestowed  uponme,  advocating  the  causeof  the  wrong 
and  oppressed,  as  I  said  before,  persuaded  in  my  own  mind  that  I  could 
not  serve  God  in  a  more  acceptable  way,  nor  yet  discharge  my  duty  to  my 
country,  my  fellow  creatures,  and  co-sufferers,  more  consistent  with  the  . 
dictates  of  humanity,  justice,  and  christian  religion,  in  which  I  have  ,t 
been  nurtured  and  educated.  (Yes  and  would  spend  ten  more  lives  in  j  '. 
the  same  cause  if  bestowed  upon  me  and  needed).  .1  cannot  charge  myself  J« 
with  recording  one  single  false  accusation  against  any  one  of  these  High-  n 
land  depopulators,  yet  some  of  them,  or  their  hired  apologists ;  who  dared 
not  confront  me  while  alive,  may  attack  my  character  and  dispute  t\m 
veracity  of  my  statements,  and  charges  against  them  after  I  am  dead  and 
gone.  Some  has  the  audacity  already  to  question  my  ability  to  write  such 
a  narrative  as  you  have  now  before  you,  and  bestowing  the  credit  of  it 
upon  some  one  they  know  not.  1  have  not  much  cause  to  boast  of  my 
abilities  display ^4  in  my  Gloomy  Narrative,  only  that  I  have  performed 
what  I  considered  my  incumbent  duty  in  society,  and  made  the  Ijest  use  I 
could  of  all  the  abilities  bestowed  upon  me,  but  I  challenge  them  to  find 
out  any  one  who  have  put  one  word  or  one  idea  into  my  head.  I  wish  it  to 
be  known  among  my  countrymen  how  willingly  Mr.  McWhinnie,  editor 
and  proprietor  of  the  Woodstock  Sentinel,  volunteered  to  assist  me  in 
revising  and  reading  the  proof  sheets,  I  hope  he  will  not  loose  his  reward. 
I  know  my  enemies  will  accuse  me  of  plagiarism  ;  I  deny  it,  I  gave  cre- 
dit to  every  gentleman  from  whose  writings  I  have  made  quotations. 

During  the  time  I  have  been  exposing  the  clearing  system  in  the  High- 
lands through  the  public  press,  I  have  received  many  private  and  public 
letters  from  almost  every  quarter  of  the  empire  and  her  colonies,  en- 
couraging me  in  my  labour  and  approving  of  my  actions  in  very  flattering    5 
terms,  and  passing  eulogies  upon  me,  many  of  which  should  have  a  place    r 
in  this  work  only  for  this,  that  my  enemies  and  hired  critics  might 
construe  them  to  self-praise,  hence  I  have  to  suppress  them  ;  but  to  let    i 
my  friendly  readers  know  that  my  name  is  still  alive  in  Scotland,  and 
honourably  mentioned  there  by  the  real  friends  and  advocates  of  the 
Highlanders,  and  the  unflinching  exposers  of  their  wrongs.     I  here  sub- 
join a  speech  delivered  in  November  last,  by  one  of  the  most  patriotic 
gentlemen  with  whom  the  clan  Camj)bell  or  the  Highlanders  can  claim 
connection,  viz.  Captain  Campbell  of  Borlum  : — 

A  HIGHLANDER  ON  THE  HIGHLANDS. 

Last  week  on  the  presentation  of  a  handsome  testimonial  to  Captain 
Campbell,  Glasgow,  by  a  number  of  friends  and  admirers,  that  gentle- 
man, whose  enthusiasm  in  behalf  of  the  cause  of  the  Highlanders  is  so 
well  known,  made  the  following  truly  spirited  and  patriotic  reply. 

Gentlemen, — I  feel  that  my  friend  the  chairman  has,  in  his  earnest 
and  eloquent  address,  described  my  conduct  and  character  in  terms  far 


209 

V>ove  my  merits ;  hut  I  trust  the  time  is  yet  distant  when  it  will  \te  con 
'red  in  accordance  either  with  good  taste  or  proper  feelings  to  apply 
rules  of  strict  criticism  to  the  innocent  exaggerations  so  natural  to 
itlemen  of  kind  hearts  and  generous  sympathies,  on  occasions  like  the 
sent.     My  military  ser%'ices  have  been  too  brief  to  deserve  the  notice 
;pn  of  them  by  the  chainnan.    I  joined  the  army  at  the  beginning  of  the 
I     ipaign  of  1813,  in  the  seat  of  war — I  might  almost  say  the  11''    "    * 
1    ,  and  was  put  on  half  pay  so  soon  as  our  arms  achieved  the  I 

J   ve  the  satisfaction  of  knowing,  however,  that  my  conduct  in  p; 
♦^  enemy  was  considen^d  by  my  brother  otficers  as  not  unwoi  t 
nitry  or  my  clan  ;  but  the  fact  is,  that  every  Highlander  is  inspired  \>y 
liirth  and  traditions  with  the  feelings  In^st  calculated  to  enable  him  to 
ir  himself  manfully  on  the  field  of  battle.     The  Highlander  who  does 
t  do  so  is  untrue,  not  only  to  the  name  of  his  race,  but  also  to  the  bosom 
on  which  he  was  nursed.     That  few   such   have   ever  aj' 
Highland  soldiers,  is  proved  by  their  conduct  in  battle,  fr- ..  f 

the  wild  and  romantic  battle  of  the  Grampians,  until  that 
the  illustrious  Havelock  gained  his  ninth  \'ictory  ai" '""*    "  ^'  ^' 
on  the  arid  plains  of  India.     Hence  it  is  that  the  I. 
the  novelists  and  |ienny-a-liners  of  modem   times   se.iii    net*  rniin'  - 
metamorphose  into  an  Anglo-Saxon,  is  entitled  to  credit  for  havin;:.      . 
his  energetic  enterprise  and   skilful   industry,   covered   our  plains    with 
palaces  and  warehouses,  and  our  seas  with  navies  and  argosies  ;  the  \{\j,h 
iinder  or  Gael  is  entitled  to  cr-  he  patriotism   and   bravery,   the 

abilities  vigour,  and  trenchant  till  secure  to  our  mountains  the 

proud  distinction  of  having  pro  itional  extremity  the  unc<m 

quered  citadel  of  our  country's  i        ^  Alas,  that  we  have  seen 

the  day  when  the  citadel  may  be  ascribed  as  dismantled  and  di8{K)iled  of 
its  warlik.-  defenders,  not  by  a  brave  and  noble  enemy  but  by  an  insidiotis 
ind  un]  r  lend,  aided  and  abetted  by  the  public  apathy.     Had  the 

public  ii .  ....^  i.  iimined  alive  to  the  importance  of  preserving  the  clans  to 
their  country,  the  Highlands  would  have  l>een  at  this  day  the  beat  military 
lursery  in  Kurope — a  nursery  capable  of  rearing  legions  upon  legions  of 
»tron«,  brave,  willing,  and  hardy  soldiers,  eager  to  enter  into  the  sorvicr 
•f  their  IxOoved  country*.  Th«'ir  never  was  a  greater  fallacy  than  the 
>itudiously  inc»dcated  and  generally  prevailing  impression  that  the  High 
lands  are  incapable  of  maintaining  a  large  population  in  con'  I 

prosperity.     The  straths,  the  vales,  the  glens,  antl  even  the  far  • 
wil.i  !s,  up  to  an  altittide  of  a  thousand  fe<'t  alM»vi5  U»«- 

lev.  rtile  and  Halubrious,  and  under  a  «yst«'m   of  hus- 

bandry 1  _iow  all  the  ordinary'  crops  of  this  country  ;   while  tiie 

value  oi  ;  lance  of  all  kinds  of  6sh  contained  in  the  inland  rn.d  «mr 

rf)urulin^'  seas  can  scarcely  Ik'  overstrained  by  the  miwjt  exprtnHi^ 
ation.     Had  tl"  "I'l  'Ian  system  <»f  managing  estates  l»een  a<lhe! 
the  modern  ]  s,  or  in  other  wortls,  had  the  country,  as  of  old. 

been  covered  «i.ii  i.audets  ^-   ■'•■  ' imikI  by  a  run^'   '-^t'ltUtion. 

each  family  possessing  a  sn  f  the  arable  In  '»wn 

sustenance,  and  every  elachnn  i  ^  hole  neighbouring  i(i<.#.ings 

o 


land  for  the  * 
heart  worth \ 
cjfeacanc 
a^«  whi 


210 


for  the  payment  of  its  rents,  the  rentals  would  have  been  larger  than  they 
now  are  in  the  Highlands,  and  the  country  teeming  with  the  most  virtu- 
ous and  warlike  |>oj)ulation  in  the  world.  That  the  population  are  being 
expatriated,  while  such  latent  resources  remained  undeveloped,  and  while  the 
Government  are  requiring  a  greatly  increased  array,  is  a  national  disgrace, 
and  may  prove  a  national  calamity ;  but  are  that  disgrace  and  calamity 
not  to  be  ascribed  more  to  the  infatuated  adulajipftipf  wealth  and  rank  by 
the  public  than  to  the  blindness  or  apathy  df  ihe^  Government?  That 
such  is  the  case  lias  been  painfully  confirmed  l)y  a  paragraph  which 
appeared  in  the  newspapers  the  other  day,  showing  that  the  great  Gel  tic- 
Society  of  Glasgow,  from  whose  ])atriotism  and  independence  of  spiiit,  as 
well  as  its  professed  object  of  conserving  the  poetry,  the  garb,  and  tin 
athletic  games  of  the  Highlanders,  something  very  different  was  to  be 
expected,  applied  for  and  obtained  the  patronage  of  the  Duke  of  Suther- 
"  vear.  Now,  gentlemen,  no  Highlander  possessing  a 
ame,  who  has  perused  the  history'  of  the  Sutherland 
.  by  that  bra\e  and  noble  hearted  man,  Donald  M'Leod, 
s  until  this  day  uncontradicted,  can  assign  to  the  Duke 
nghter  page  in  the  history  of  the  Highlands  than  has 
another  Duke  since  the  battle  of  Culloden,  I  have 
been  told  that  neither  the  Directors  nor  the  Society  have  been  consulted, 
nor  are  consenting  parties  to  the  application,  and  I  trust  that  it  is  so  :  but 
it  is  humiliating  to  think  that  a  single  Highlander  could  be  found  in  ( >  i  ^ 
gow  capable  of  applying  for  or  accepting  the  patronage  of  a  clearaiux 
maker.  Mr  Chairman  and  gentlemen,  allow  me  to  assure  you  that  1  am 
at  a  loss  for  words  in  which  adequat^j'  to  express  my  high  sense  and 
heart-felt  appreciation  of  the  tokens;  0f  approval  by  which  I  have  this  da}' 
been  honoured  by  so  large  a  numlDcr  of  gentlemen,  for  e"\'ery  one  of  whom 
1  have  every  reason  to  feel  the  warmest  respect  and  est(||jn!^  and  I  beg 
leave  to  offer,  not  only  to  you  who  have  attended  this  meeting,  the.gn*ater 
number  of  you  from  so  great  a  distance,  but  also,  thrt)Ugh  the  committee, 
to  all  the  other  generous  donors  of  this  splendid  testimonial,  my  proud 
and  grateful  thanks." 

Captain  Campbell  is  a  gentleman  of  high  l>irth,  moving  among  the  most 
noble  and  educated  order  of  society,  not  among  those  whose  birth  and 
position  in  the  world  blinds  and  deafens  to  the  dictates  and  demand  of 
Cluistian  humanity,  and  to  disown  his  country  and  countrymen  evtni  in 
distress,  tranipled  down  and  forsaken.  "Well  might  he  l)e  surprised  that 
a  single  Highlantler  could  be  found  in  Glasgow,  who  would  he  cap^h  of 
committing  such  an  outrage  upon  the  feelings  of  his  true-hearted  ojpnitry- 
men,  as  to  apply  and  solicit  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  to  become  the  patron 
of  a  Celtic  Society  of  any  form  ;  but  the  one  which  would  please  him  best, 
a  society  to  extirpate  the  Celts,  and  their  name  and  renlembratice  from 
under  heaven.  1  hope  for  tlie  sake  of  the  Society,  and  those  connected 
with  it,  that  the  anti-highland  villain,  or  villains  who  gave  the  call  will  be 
discovered  and  exposed,  and  he  or  thoy  will  be  expelled  frbra  the  society 
along  with  their  patron,  for  n  n  serving  or  inconsistent  nobleman 

el('ct<<l  to  T)e  patron  of  a  Hii;lilai  could  not  be  tound  in  all  b^urope 


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